Saturday, April 28, 2007

It Doesn't Take Much

In reading through Episcopal Church news, I came across an interview with Katharine Jefferts Schori, our Presiding Bishop. The conversation came around to the current tensions within our denomination. The very frightening word, schism was used. When I hear the word schism, I think major split.

The PB indicated that we are talking about a very small percentage of actual parishes leaving or threatening to leave. She says we are talking about less than 1% of the 7500 Episcopal parishes in the country. We, however, should not minimize. Some of these parishes are very large in average Sunday attendance. Some of the parishes exiting are, in fact, approaching the size of the Diocese of Nevada that Bishop Schori served before becoming PB. But more than that, we are talking about the Episcopal Church losing real people of faith, even if we are not always in agreement about the shape of our faith. An exodus, no matter how large or small, will make us all poorer.

Yet here is the kicker, this group of less than 1% of parishes deafens us with the noise they create. This group has dominated the conversation and the media coverage. This has me thinking. Can you imagine what the Church could do, if it harnessed the intensity and commitment of 2% of the parishes in the country? What if 2% of the parishes in this Episcopal Church demonstrated a passion for ministry and mission in Jesus' name? I hope and pray that we see a new day. I long for a day marked by mission and ministry, rather than fighting about authority.

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