A series of essays in the Episcopal Church
From: Katherine M. Glenn
Sent: Friday, March 23, 2007 1:44 PM
Most Reverend Sir,
Due to illness, I have not written of my personal convictions regarding the recent tensions in the Worldwide Anglican Communion, although I should have. A little background--I hope someone will read this; it is with great effort that I write it.
I am 59 years old, almost sixty, and a "genetic Episcopalian." Called to the priesthood at age eight, I was ordained in 1993. I served for ten years in a rural setting, serving 9,000 square miles in southern Colorado, the San Luis Valley, an extremely poverty-ridden area where people starve and freeze to death every winter. Under my leadership the church grew from 60 members to 350 members over a six-county area, with eleven home Bible study/small groups and four churches, with "house church" in six other towns, both clergy- and lay-led. My impoverished people had the highest percentage of tithers (10%) in the Diocese of Colorado, the highest overall percentage of giving to the Church, and they gave generously to local social outreach efforts as well as to Episcopal Relief and Development. People came from around the national Church to see how we were doing ministry, how we could feed over 300 people home-cooked meals every Saturday night with personal service and live entertainment; how we could build a 6,000 square foot food bank to serve four counties; why our church just kept growing and growing. They discovered love and joy at the center of our corporate life, gratitude to God for each day, overwhelming generosity and willingness to share the little they had, the "widow's mite" in so many cases. They discovered a community where ANYONE WAS TRULY WELCOME, from illegal migrant workers to gang members to gentle grandmothers and county commissioners. And certainly to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people--they were some of our most committed members. I was nominated for bishop twice, and was a final candidate in both elections. I have been a deputy to our General Convention until I moved from Colorado to Washington state because of my health, and have worked at General Convention for the national Church. For eight years, I wrote sermons for the national Church to be used by lay readers and preachers alike. I have published a number of articles on Total Baptismal Ministry. I became very ill in 2004 and accepted medical disability retirement in the fall of 2005. I am very grateful for every day I am given to live, but I miss my work as Rector of St. Andrew's Episcopal Church in Tacoma, Washington, terribly, as well as my work in the national Church.
I rejoiced when you became Archbishop of Canterbury. I had used your book on resurrection a number of times as a resource for retreats, Lenten studies, etc., and had followed your career from afar. You had shown openness, intelligence, integrity, compassion, and a growing wisdom that suggested that the Anglican Communion might undergo true transformation under your leadership.
I understand your need to reconcile and even placate a very diverse constituency. Actually, I don't. I expect our leaders to lead us in the Church. So often, people come to church hoping for an experience of the Divine and we explain why we don't say "Alleluia" during Lent. People want to go in God's way. They want to know that the Holy Spirit is more than a theory. They yearn for leadership in how to live better, more fulfilling lives. They grow and thrive when given genuine opportunities to serve others in meaningful ways in the name of Christ. They need to be led to BE Christ's open arms and healing hands in the world around them, those arms and hands that embraced prostitutes and political collaborators and even lepers, that encouraged everyone who believed in him and to leadership to give up their former lives and follow him and learn to lead God's people.
Most Reverend Sir, I am so embarrassed and ashamed that you, as the most visible leader of my Church, have sat silent while the Primate of Nigeria has publicly supported and promoted this heinous piece of legislation which is clearly a violation of the most basic human rights of a whole segment of every population. I am grieved to tears at your lack of proper leadership among the Primates. I am shocked that you seem to be listening more closely--and politically--to the loud angry voices around you than to the still, small voice within you.
Regardless of what happens to our official relationship with the Worldwide Anglican Communion, I will remain an Anglican to my death. May the living Christ fill you and lead you, strengthen you and guard you each day, and may the love of all of us who hope for your leadership surround you.
In His love,
Katherine Merrell Glenn+
"The one who loves another has fulfilled the law." (Romans 13:8)
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