Out of the blue came an email from one of the local ECUSA church rectors (emphasis mine):
I am delighted at the good energy your leadership has produced at St. Gabriel’s and wish you continued growth. As you know, the continuing churches are an important pastoral resource for many good Episcopalians who have not agreed with our church’s change of Prayer Book, women’s ordination and conversation about the place of gay members in the church.
I have one request, however. When you identify your churches in public venues (signs, newspapers, etc.), would it be possible for you to be attentive to identifying your denominational affiliation with the United Episcopal Church of North America. It can be a source of confusion if you call yourself “St. Gabriel’s Episcopal Church.” I’ve had a couple of parishioners mention the confusion to me.
And here’s my response to him:
Thank you for your kind words. Sorry that some of your members are confused about this. Your first paragraph itself entails a response to your request that we are a continuing EPISCOPAL Church that has not not departed from the “faith once given to the saints.” For this reason alone we remain EPISCOPALIANS. Secondly, St.Gabriel’s Episcopal Church has been in existence almost two decades under this very title, and for you to ask me to make a change is impossible. We have not changed to satisfy the whims of the modern day society. We have remained true to the teachings and are proud to be serving the Lord the EPISCOPALIAN way. We absolutely have no problem with our name and we are proud of it and we hope that if you have members who are unhappy about the developments at your church, that you would direct them to us.
And if I may ask of you a favor, please refrain from disturbing the faith of the simple people through your column Roots and Wings. Your personal thoughts are yours. But to proclaim as a minister of God, underestimating even the basic tenets of Christianity, like the Ten Commandments is very disturbing and misleading for God’s people
Over the years, faithful Episcopalians within ECUSA have been shown the door, forfeiting their properties and endowments, for the simple reason that they did not feel right about what was being taught and practiced within ECUSA. So, who should change the name EPISCOPALIAN? We who want to safeguard and guide the faith handed down by the apostles, rooted in Scripture and Tradition, enshrined in the theology and liturgy of the 1928 BCP? Or liberals who have made a tryst with sin, teaching people that sin is fun and the Ten Commandments are not necessary for salvation?
(If we accepted this for a moment, then there is no sin, and we could question the entire economy of salvation, the futility of the passion, death and resurrection of Christ because in vain he died. Therefore, there is no need of a Jesus who will redeem us from sin. Following such logic, His incarnation, His life and message, His passion, death and resurrection, the Church would not have been established. Jesus loved sinners but hated sin. That’s the reason why Christ died for us all even while we were yet sinners and therefore the need to come back to that Amazing Grace).
Many years ago, our folks left everything they had invested in ECUSA and walked out empty handed after experiencing a deep sense of betrayal. The only thing they had and still have today is their pride in having been “cradle Episcopalians.” Now we are asked to drop it or differentiate ourselves from being Episcopalians.
At the same time the above email was sent to me, another email was sent to this local ECUSA church’s congregation informing that their “vestry made a consensus decision to authorize a vestry-led congregational process for the consideration of pastoral blessings for committed same-gender relationships.” Having made so many changes to accommodate hidden agendas and having departed from the faith so radically, it is they who need to change their name and not those who love and honor the true Episcopalian way. ECUSA: Please change your name or change your ways!
To those who love the name of Episcopalian or Anglican, be proud of your name and look for places where the great EPISCOPALIAN traditions live on. God is where grace is. If someone teaches you that sinning and shunning grace is okay, be mindful of where you are! Continue your faith walk where you can find mercy and grace until He comes again. When the son of man returns, will he find enough faith on the earth?