We ate dinner last night at my mother’s retirement community, with a man who had been an Episcopalian priest for 35 years. So I asked him, “What is happening with the Episcopalians?” and he replied, “A small minority is being stubborn and breaking away over letting homosexuals in.”
Then he recounted for us his very first Vestry meeting, as a new parish priest. (Vestry, for you non-Episcopalians, is what others call Parish Council or Board of Deacons.) A man passed out a paper with a resolution on it that should an African-American ever show up at the front door, he was to be given a map to the nearest black church. “So I gathered those sheets of paper,” the man told us, “and tore them up. That was in the ‘sixties, and about every ten years since, another thing like that seems to come up. After that, it was women. Then homosexuals…”
For him, the issues of women’s ordination and ordaining gays and lesbians is another civil rights issue. And this man was utterly confident he had been the guardian of decency and uprightness against prejudice and ignorance. It's God's church, he says, and nobody but God has the right to bar anyone from it.
It’s always so interesting to get a different view of things!
Tuesday, February 5, 2008