Has the Episcopal Church started to fracture?
This is the question that many are trying to answer after nine churches in the Diocese of Virginia, including two historic parishes, voted Sunday to leave the Episcopal Church. They plan to affiliate with the Convocation of Anglicans in North America, the U.S. missionary district of the conservative Anglican Church of Nigeria.
These churches, of course, feel they can no longer abide by the Episcopal Church’s gay-friendly attitude and overall leftward drift.
The American Anglican Council, which affirms Christian orthodoxy, “supports”:http://www.americananglican.org/site/apps/nl/content2.asp?c=ikLUK3MJIpG&b=675589&ct=3311949 the churches’ departure.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“The top leadership of the Episcopal Church is rapidly leading (the church) away from being a Christian church, and we strongly support churches that choose to leave in order to remain faithful to our Lord Jesus Christ and His Word,Ã¢â‚¬? said the Rev. Canon David C. Anderson, president of the council.
The Episcopal News Service, meanwhile, “notes”:http://www.episcopalchurch.org/3577_80654_ENG_HTM.htm that 30 or so members of one of the departing churches — a “large, viable remnant” — have chosen to stay in the Episcopal Church.
One of the hold-outs is quoted as saying that the issue of homosexuality was the “precipitating event but it has gone so far beyond that that I haven’t even heard that mentioned in probably the last year. The first year it was an issue, but not since. It has been: ‘We know the truth and we are telling it to you. If you don’t accept this truth then you really don’t belong here.’ ”
But schism isn’t the only issue on the minds of Episcopalians. It’s almost Christmas, after all.
Bishop Mark Sisk, the Episcopal leader of New York, posts on the Washington Post/Newsweek “On Faith”:http://newsweek.washingtonpost.com/onfaith/mark_s_sisk/ site that: “Yes, as audacious as that claim is to make, I do believe that Jesus Christ was, and is, the Son of God.”
Sisk, right, goes on to say:
“What that means, if it is true, as I believe it to be, is that God, the creator, source, and sustainer of all that is, from the smallest atomic particle to the vastness of the Universe, walked among us as one of us. This walking among us was not one simply of appearance, but it was also of substance. In turn, what that means is that God is not a disinterested observer of the Universe but has, rather, chosen to be identified with the created order in a direct and immediate way. As a consequence of this identification we can know that creation itself is holy, it is sacred, it is special in GodÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s sight. And therefore it should be holy in our eyes as well.”