Monday, August 6, 2007
For a Season (reprise)
When I began this blog, I took the name from the words of ++Katharine Jefferts-Schori, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church for the title. She was speaking of the moratorium on the election of LGBTQ bishops in a partnered relationship. It has been a difficult season for the Episcopal Church but one that has probably caused the most serious discussion in the whole of the Church that I have ever known. Ultimately this season of discussion and dialog on such things as the House of Deputies list serve and in the blogosphere will serve us well as we pick up the loose ends of the attempts to split the Church. The Episcopal Church will survive intact, perhaps a bit smaller, but with the same life and vigor. We will continue to be a faith for people who question openly and who see that actions and belief are part of the same coin.
But now this title has come to have new meaning. I have just been called to the pastorate of a small Lutheran Church ELCA in Sidney, NY. It is part of the new efforts between our two denominations to expand our ministry. Clergy in either tradition can work in the other’s church without having to change loyalties. “Together in Mission” is a covenant to learn from the Episcopal and Lutheran ELCA churches’ gifts and while not uniting our churches, allows for a broader understanding of faith for both traditions.
I have been, for the last 3 year not permitted to take even Sunday supply in my own diocese because my bishop and I are at odds. It isn’t a matter of disobedience; it is a matter of the way that I believe he has handled some things that do not reflect well on the Episcopal Church and on Christianity. It has been a painful time. At the same time it has been a season filled with grace—the grace of being able to trust in God at a level I have never known, and the grace of friendships that have been stalwart and true. I am humbled in gratitude all that has been given me.
For a Season has been a way for me to keep in contact with friends and a place where I could work out my thoughts in a seemly manner of what was happening in my beloved Episcopal Church. This blog will continue to be that but will take on a decidedly Lutheran hue. My past year and a half I have supplied at ELCA congregations in the Southern Tier. I have found them exceptional folk, who take their faith seriously and intensely. I have begun to understand some of the humor of Garrison Kiellor when he speaks so fondly of Lutherans.
There are all kinds of comparisons that I can make on the two different traditions. Liturgically we are so alike that there is almost no difference—just enough that makes for the tongue to get tangled or to forget some part of the service. But culturally and theologically we are quite distinct. I will probably put my foot in my mouth with some regularity commenting on the differences between our churches but I will try to understand us both. All I do know is that if our two denominations do really merge we will be awesome! There is so much talent in both churches and many of the things that the Episcopalians fail in are Lutheran strengths and vice versa.
So I will attempt to bring together this wonderful opportunity of the Lutheranizing of Lauren with the joy of the Episcopalianizing of St. Luke’s. Please God, make this a blessed work.
Meanwhile I will hope that you readers will continue to comment, kid me, and offer insight to this season’s journey in to a “strange land.”