Warm thanks to the 30DAys reader who drew attention to the Parish of S.Mark, Capitol Hill in Washington DC – ‘The Church of the Open Communion’ is how it describes itself online – a quote from the Parish Profile sets the scene:
St. Mark’s is enriched by a history of both valuing and questioning beliefs. Some of us believe in a benevolent God, some in a personal God, and some aren’t quite sure about God at all. Others in the community believe that Jesus is the Son of God, suggesting some degree of traditional Christian belief; some are skeptics (sic) and agnostics. We also welcome people of other faiths.
Hmmmm. A glance at a recent Weekly Sheet was illuminating:
Acknowledgements: The words of the Opening Sentences, Collect, Prayers of the People, The Peace, Eucharistic Prayer, Invitation to Communion, Post-Communion Prayer, Blessing, and Dismissal were written by the Rector.
Still, at least he hadn’t re-written the Lord’s Prayer! No, he’d got that from New Zealand:
All Life-Giver, Pain-Bearer, Love-Maker. Source of all that is and that shall be. Mother and Father of all, Loving God, in whom is heaven: The hallowing of your name echo through the universe! The way of your justice be followed by all peoples of the world! Your heavenly will be done by all created beings! Your commonwealth of peace and freedom sustain our hope and come on earth. With the bread we need for today, feed us. In the hurts we absorb from one another, forgive us. In times of temptation and test, strengthen us. From trials too great to endure, spare us. From the grip of all that is evil, free us. For you reign in the glory of the power that is love, now and forever. Amen.
Still, as we’ve learned over the years, The Episcopal Church (Proprietor: Mrs K J Schori) is a foreign country: they do things differently there.
Not-so-green, green grass of home
Mind you, life in the Catholic Church in the USA isn’t much better, at least on the West Coast. The California Catholic Daily reports:
Most Holy Redeemer Church, San Francisco’s notoriously ‘gay-friendly’ parish, has invited a retired Episcopalian bishop who left his wife and family to ‘marry’ a man as guest speaker at a November 30 Advent Vespers Service. The invited guest is Episcopal Bishop Otis Charles, who in 2005 provided a biographical statement to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, & Transgender Religious Archives Network, which said in part: ‘Since 1979 he has been among a growing number of bishops who have spoken out for full and complete inclusion of gay and lesbian people in the church without restriction, recognizing their calling to ministry and rejecting the notion that a baptized homosexual must live a celibate life. Whether in an informal gathering or the pulpit, he characteristically begins, ‘I am a gay man, an Episcopal (Anglican) bishop, a queer who only just mustered the courage to publicly acknowledge the truth of my life.’
The plot thickens
Meanwhile, back in London at S.Paul’s Cathedral, the entertainment has continued. 30DAys little thought, when it wrote it up last month, that barely a few days later the Dean, the Canon Chancellor and one of the Chaplains would all have resigned in the face of the anti-capitalist tent city parked on the cathedral steps. Still it’s all been a bit of a wake-up call to the bankers, hasn’t it?
will keep a welcome . . .
Of course, the S.Paul’s protestors are now facing eviction proceedings from an understandably unsympathetic City of London Corporation, so they’ll need somewhere else to pitch camp, once the agents of right-wing oppression have helped them pack their bags. Luckily, the Archbishop of Wales has generously invited them all to camp outside Llandaff Cathedral, promising as well to let them sleep inside the cathedral if it gets too cold! It would be carping to say that it’s a crying shame that Dr Morgan’s generosity doesn’t extend to traditionalist members of his own flock (given his refusal to appoint a successor to former Provincial Assistant Bishop David Thomas), so of course we won’t mention it.
The time is right for . . .
Finally, back to S.Paul’s for a snippet worthy of Father Ted from the Irish Independent:
Dancing priest Father Neil Horan felt the wrath of anti-capitalist protesters when he interrupted a packed demonstration with a traditional Irish jig. The controversial cleric caused a stir when he started dancing a jig at the Occupy London Stock Exchange camp outside St Paul’s cathedral on Saturday afternoon. Activists — who claim to believe in free speech — saw red when the Co Kerry priest overshadowed their protest by performing a traditional Irish jig while holding a placard on the steps of the landmark cathedral. Several protesters tried to interrupt the one-man demonstration, but they were quickly told to ‘go home’ by Fr Horan’s female bodyguard. One onlooker said, ‘Representatives from the camp approached him a number of times but there was no stopping him — he just kept on going and his female assistant made sure any troublemakers were kept at bay.’ But the defrocked cleric hit back claiming that the controversial camp was a waste of time. The priest was jailed for dancing across the racetrack during the 2003 British Grand Prix.