A series of essays toward General Convention 2003 and beyond
By the Rev. John F. Stanton email@example.com
The autumn breeze brings chill to the airThe academic year and the church program year get going at a change of seasons. We welcomed the change from a rainy June to a hot July. Now we embrace the move from a muggy August to a cool September, mosquitoes and all. Just as surely as Mars shines brightly in the southeast, we are ready for a change -- or are we?
And leaves change color with not a care.
A church with no search
Will be left in the lurch
Like a bear in a lair going nowhere.
Humans basically don't like change. I mean, why shouldn't things stay the same when they seem to be going OK? Like, what's wrong with Frank Sinatra? Why do they have to play this music with no tune to hum and nothing but a beat. And what's with the baggy pants anyway?
Of course, we know that people said the same thing about slavery, the right of women to vote or to be ordained, the equality of the races, the Prayer Book in modern English, the forty-hour work week and democracy vs. the divine right of kings. History is the story of change and we may be sure that some people didn't like it when it was happening. When the issues in dispute concerned who was in power, change sometimes even led to war.
We find ourselves now in a time of change and for some of us it is difficult. I want to say that I understand, that I've been there myself. For some reason beyond our comprehension, God made some people blond and some red-headed, some black and some white. And God made ten to fifteen percent of the human race homosexual. We don't get to vote on it. It's just a fact. The years of denying that fact are over. It's past time for a change.
The wonderful thing about Christianity is that it is about conversion, transformation, even revolution. And, what's more, the Holy Spirit is with us to strengthen us on our journey. You will search in vain in the Bible to find a place where God tells people to stay in the same place unless it is to enjoy quietly the company of God or to learn something. Jesus said, "If I am lifted up, I will draw all people unto me." He scandalized the leaders of his time by seeking out the people pushed to the margins of society and having dinner with them.
In the Name of Jesus of Nazareth, let it be said that all are welcome in his church, into all the joys and rights and responsibilities and privileges of his church -- welcome to fellowship and to service, welcome to worship and to communion, welcome to study and to prayer, welcome to ordination as deacons, priests or bishops. May God be praised for all of God's creation.
Yours in Jesus' Name,
The Rev. John F. Stanton
Vicar, St. Matthew's Episcopal Church, Paramus, NJ
Please sign my guestbook and view it.
Statistics courtesy of