Faith at Altitude

Religion and spirituality in the shadow of Pikes Peak

Monday, May 08, 2006

Episcopal tension

The Episcopal Church elected a new heterosexual bishop of California this weekend. This is not normally material for the secular press, but in this case, the election was news.

California's slate of nine candidates included two gays and a lesbian. The election of one of these candidates could've smashed any hope of the country's Epscopal Church to mend its relations with the Anglican Communion, a worldwide network of around 70 million Episcopalian and Anglican believers. The Communion is still in a tizzy over the 2003 election of the Rev. Gene Robinson, Rhode Island's openly gay bishop, and it's possible that the Episcopal Church could either be kicked out of the Communion, schism over the controversy, or both. And Episcopalians will discuss all these dicey issues this summer at their general convention.

The Rev. Donald Armstrong, rector for Colorado Springs' largest Episcopal Church, Grace Church and St. Stephens, has been extremely critical of Robinson's election; his outspoken ways made him a national spokesman for Episcopal conservatives in 2003-04. But locally, as elsewhere, Episcopalians are split. They are a deeply liturgical people, so biblical pronouncements against homosexuality carry weight. But they've also prided themselves for their compassion; Episcopal church doors are often painted red to symbolize literal sanctuary -- that soldiers could not pursue an enemy beyond the red door.

The convention will begin June 13 and last for a week. By then, perhaps, we'll have a better idea of what the nation's Episcopal Church will look like -- and with whom it will be affiliated -- for the next century.


Post a Comment

<< Home