Episcopal church tells Episcopal church to stop calling itself Episcopal
The rector of St. Gabriel's United Episcopal Church in Springdale, Arkansas, which is running a widely-supported and effective relief effort for those in southern India affected by last fall's tsunami, has been asked by the rector of St. Paul's, the largest Episcopal Church USA parish in nearby Fayetteville, to stop calling St. Gabriel's an Episcopal church. After a bit of buttering up, he writes:
I have one request, however. When you identify your churches in public venues (signs, newspapers, etc.), would it be possible for you to be attentive to identifying your denominational affiliation with the United Episcopal Church of North America. It can be a source of confusion if you call yourself "St. Gabriel's Episcopal Church." I've had a couple of parishioners mention the confusion to me.
Matt of Overtaken by Events, a parishoner of St. Gabriel's, notes that the e-mail arrived a couple of days after the leadership of St. Paul's announced plans to move ahead toward performing blessings of same-sex relationships. Matt asks, "Is there unrest in the pews of St Paul's?" I'll bet the rector of the liberal congregation is concerned that his older, more conservative parishoners will leave and take their money with them if they know that there is another Episcopal Church in the area, one that is faithful to the truth.
Penitent Blogger, another St. Gabriel's parishoner, has more about the liberal parish's process of dialogue on same-sex blessings, which is set up to lead inevitably to approval. Her description of how the process works is spot on, especially this bit: "It's just a matter of time before this so-called 'vestry-led congregational process' leads to the actual approval of same-sex blessings, and the term used to inform the community of this inevitable decision will neccessarily contain flowery, politically-correct, multi-syllabic words in excess of ten per sentence, instead of just coming out and saying 'screw you, we did it anyway.'" She thinks St. Paul's should change its name to "Saul's Sociopalian Entity, proudly undermining 2,000 years of Scripture, history and tradition, whether you like it or not."
It's great to see that Penitent Blogger is back to blogging after a month or so of working on other projects. In her previous entry, she takes apart St. Paul's rector Rev. Lowell Grisham's recent op-ed attempt to expound a biblical justification for abortion. I love her concluding remark: "Fortunately, I'm not inclined to take seriously the opinions of a priest who hosts labyrinth walks in celebration of the full moon at what is supposed to be a Christian church."
One more word of praise -- Overtaken by Events and Penitent Blogger are among the few blogs on my blogroll which are directly pinging BlogRolling.com so they show up as "recently updated" when they've recently updated. That means that more people will notice that they have new content and will go to read it. If you're a Movable Type user, it's an easy thing to fix, and if you use Blogger, there's a simple manual procedure. Click here for more information on the problem and the workaround.