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Re: Conformity or Diveristy?? (fwd)

> Does ECUSA want me as a member?  Does it want my rector and my parish?  


> If you truly are in the "ascendancy", then you have to take responsibility 
> for the health of the whole church or you will ascend over nothing but the 
> trash heap mounded in tribute to your own arrogance.

For me it is not an issue of who is ascendant.  We are in this ministry
together.  It is servant ministry or it is not ministry.

XXXX, my parish is probably as atypical of the Diocese of Newark as is St.
XXXXXXX's.  Come visit us sometime, and you will see, but you'd better not
bring your wife as she may not want to return to XXXXX, since she may find
our Anglo-catholicism irresistible ('o;)  

Every parish in this diocese is special.  No one duplicates another.

The diocese is the richer for this diversity, and we in separate parishes
are the richer as well.  

While I respect congregationalists, I did not choose to be one.  One of
the special treats of the Episcopal Church is that the individual parish,
as vital as it is, does not define for us who we are as a church.  Our
diocesan networks enable us to do ministry collectively that any parish
would be hard put to do alone.  St. XXXXXXX's recent collaboration with
UBE for the men's interracial breakfast is a good example, as is the
volunteerism that St. XXXXXXX's and other parishes have with the shelter
program at St. Paul's in Paterson.

Another plus for this unity in the diocese and in ECUSA through General
Convention is that ministry can and should go on without delaying first to
agree on a whole lot of other issues.  We'd never get anything done at all
if we had to agree first on the hot burner issues that rightly engage our

Most denominations were formed out of a strong sense of agreement about
the terms of their 'confession'; and those confessional churches have
charted their history by making few and very careful changes in those
confessional statements.  The Episcopal Church was not formed that way. 
Rarely in Anglican history have we had the luxury (?) of vast agreement
about ideas.  

We have been blessed instead with common prayer, and in this country, with
polity that is more democratic than most.  That democracy even allows huge
latitude about how 'common' our prayer and worship are.  A majority of the
Episcopalians in this diocese would be positively uncomfortable with the
worship of my high church parish and of your charismatic parish, and there
is nothing wrong with that!  We have 123 other congregations from which
they may choose and still be church together with us, still pool portions
of our material and spiritual resources to do common ministry.

The Episcopal Church is not a group any one of us, or any parish or
rector, has to wait to be invited into or made welcome.  We already ARE
welcome, already are participants, by virtue of our confirmation.

I hope you won't even think about leaving, but rather about ways that
together we can serve.   Please don't wait until we agree before you come
have lunch with me.  And please don't feel anyone is trying to run us off
when the person disagrees with us:  such folks are just enjoying the great
liberty and privilege of being Anglicans.


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