Your church webmistress and blogmistress found this old article at the Chicago Tribune’s Seeker blog before she found a later one where our Bishop Jeffrey Lee was a guest blogger. It’s an interesting look back at “where we were,” and how glad we are to have put that era of conflict behind us.
Having met Presiding Bishop Schori when she visited St Nicholas Episcopal Church in Elk Grove Village a few years ago, it’s interesting to look back at the negative attitudes that some held against her and the whole “gay Bishop” issue just a few years ago. Enough time has gone by that most of the dust has settled, and those on either side of the debate have had some time to breathe, reflect, and carry on doing God’s work as we see fit.
Lambeth 2008 turned out to be an interesting and frustrating experience watching it from afar; it brought the innovative “Indaba” discussions to the fore, and it also featured the shameful treatment of Bishop Gene Robinson, who was *not* invited although he was (and is until he retires soon) the elected bishop of the Diocese of New Hampshire. Bp. Katharine was also treated rather shabbily by the traditionalist establishment at Lambeth, a situation she weathered with grace and good humor.
Meanwhile, progressive contacts in the English church continue to ask their American cousins in faith to continue to lead the way to a more inclusive church and not to abandon gay parishioners and clergy for “the bottom line.” The situation in Uganda, with murders and attacks on gay Anglicans, requires us to be a witness for peace, reconciliation, and Christian charity.
Strange as previous commenters may find it, since Lambeth the consensus in the American church is that Bp. Katharine is the right person for the job, as she has skillfully guided us through stormy waters. The discord and unhappiness from the traditionalists has faded as they have either left the “Godless liberals” behind for churches arranged more to their liking, or as they have had a change of heart and embraced change.
Meanwhile, Episcopal churches like St Nick’s continue to welcome new members who are looking for a modern church, with a strong foundation in God’s word, that will *accept them unconditionally.* Those who left are missed, and we hope that they will eventually find their way home, but if they cannot according to their own consciences, we wish them God’s peace.
Yes, some consolidation and shrinkage has happened, but nobody misses the old conficts and discord. And now many churches (like mine) find themselves energized and renewed, able to welcome new people who couldn’t care less about those old issues; they’re attracted by good preaching, good liturgy, and good programs that speak to their hearts and feed their souls.
I’d like to see some newer articles covering Chicago Episcopalian news that *don’t* revolve around the gay clergy/woman clergy issue, such as the work our new Bishop Jeffrey Lee is doing, and what is really going on out here in the trenches. As it’s 3 years on, yet another story with a “those Episcopalians and their gay clergy” angle would not be very interesting.
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