I am a woman, wife, and mother – and a great deal of what I think and write come from those parts of who I am. But I am also an ordained minister of the Episcopal Church – and that’s an equally important part of who I am and what I think, so I wanted to share some information about the Episcopal Church.
The Episcopal Church is a Protestant Christian denomination which is part of the global Anglican Communion. We are a democratic and hierarchical organization, much like the U.S. itself. We consider clergy and lay people to be equally important to the work of the church, with each group attempting to find and fulfill our specific call to serve from God.
The Episcopal Church has, as a body, made many mistakes. We have been a powerful and privileged group and have used that power and privilege to advance the interests of the few over the many, to hold onto and build more power at the expense of others, and to force our beliefs on other people. We have not only failed to care for those in need and raise up those who are kept low by systemic inequity, but we have helped perpetuate the situations and institutions that have led to injustice and oppression in our society.
But we’re trying to change. In 2010 The Episcopal Church committed itself to:
- Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
- Achieve universal primary education
- Promote gender equality and empower women
- Reduce child mortality
- Improve maternal health
- Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases
- Ensure environmental sustainability
- Develop a global partnership for development
The Episcopal Church has recommitted itself to the basic Christian values of loving our neighbors as ourselves. We recognize the deep suspicion many people have of organized religion. We understand the depth to which many people have been wounded by those calling themselves Christian. We attempt to be vigilant about our own actions that are based on fear or prejudice – and to stop them. We are open to questioning and doubt. We welcome all people to our communities. We welcome you.
Here is a video in which our Presiding Bishop, the Most Reverend Michael Curry, speaks about the Jesus Movement in the Episcopal Church:
Episcopalians also have a sense of humor:
Top 10 Reasons to be an Episcopalian
(from the comedian Robin Williams)
10. No snake handling.
9. You can believe in dinosaurs.
8. Male and female God created them; male and female we ordain them.
7. You don’t have to check your brains at the door.
6. Pew aerobics.
5. Church year is color-coded.
4. Free wine on Sunday.
3. All of the pageantry – none of the guilt.
2. You don’t have to know how to swim to get baptized.
And the Number One reason to be an Episcopalian:
1. No matter what you believe, there’s bound to be at least one other Episcopalian who agrees with you.