11 things I love about the Episcopal Church

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My faith was saved in a gutted-out shopping mall.

I had reached a point where I no longer believed in God’s love—or rather, I didn’t believe it was meant for me. I thought it was something reserved for God’s “chosen ones,” and I just couldn’t imagine myself as one of the lucky few.

It was a trendy church with a famous pastor and a hip worship band that helped me reassemble the pieces of my faith. I will always be thankful for that church.

At that time, I had no idea my journey would lead from that gutted-out shopping mall to an old red door. But it did. Today it’s the Eucharist, the stained glass windows, and the liturgies of the Episcopal Church that are breathing new life into my faith.

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I’m not alone, either. Lately I’ve been sifting through the stories of fellow travelers like Rachel Held Evans, Jonathan Martin, and Lindsey Harts. We’ve all found something meaningful in the Episcopal Church, something disorienting and comforting all at once, something that feels vaguely like… home.

That’s not a term disaffected evangelicals like me are quick to use. But that’s what the Episcopal Church has become for me: a new spiritual home. Here are some of the reasons for that…

1.  The way the liturgy soaks into your being.

The first few times I walked through those big red doors, I didn’t know the code. I didn’t know when to sit or stand. I didn’t know how to use the prayer book. I didn’t know how to cross myself.

While others have sought to make Christianity as accessible as possible, the liturgy of the Episcopal Church feels other, like a strange artifact calling us into a different and slightly foreign reality. Learning the liturgy was like learning a new language.

These days, I’m having to rely less on the prayer book. After months (and now years) of repetition, the words and movements come more naturally from within. Rachel Held Evans described it like this:

At first, the liturgy of the Episcopal Church captured me with its novelty… But we’ve been showing up for nearly six months now, and so it is a different sort of beauty I encounter on Sunday mornings these days—the beauty of familiarity, of sweet routine. I know the order of service now. I know it well enough to have favorite parts, to skim ahead when I’m hungry or restless, to get the songs stuck in my head.

We are products of a culture that demands everything is new and fresh. We frown on repetition and ritual. But these ancient patterns have a way of soaking into your bones. The prayers and songs stay with me throughout the week in a way no sermon ever has.

2. The way the liturgy invites me to worship with my whole being, bridging the false divide between body and soul.

Genuflecting in the aisle. Crossing yourself. Kneeling. Episcopalians worship not just with their hearts or their voices but with their bodies.

Not that it didn’t take some getting used to. It was a few years before I could bring myself to make the sign of the cross. Now I appreciate it for what is: a prayer. It just happens to be one you pray with your body.

And why not? God made us whole persons. We are not disembodied souls stuffed into human shells. We should worship with our whole being. Our heart and soul and flesh should cry out together, as the Psalmist wrote.

It should be said we’re not the only ones who embrace the notion of embodied worship, and our way is not the only way to do so. Pentecostals practice embodied worship when they lift their hands in praise or dance in the aisles. Whole-person worship, as I’ve learned from the Episcopal Church, can be faith-deepening. That’s because, as Elisabeth Grunert once commented, “We learn with our bodies.”

3. The way it anchors my faith when no act of will on my part can.

I don’t always believe the words of the Nicene Creed. But I say them anyway. Sometimes they’re more a confession of desire than conviction, a statement of what I desperately hope to be true.

When I struggle to believe, the rhythms and patterns and prayers of the liturgy are like an anchor. It’s as if the rest of the community—those around me and those who came before me—are saying, “It’s OK. We’ll carry you through this part.”

Faith is no longer dependent on me willing it into being. As Jonathan Martin writes:

With my own world feeling disordered and untethered, I am quite happy to be told when to kneel and when to sit and when to stand. I love that there is almost no space in the worship experience to spectate, because almost every moment invites (but not demands) participation. I have been in no position to tell my heart what to do. But because the Church told my body what to do in worship, my heart has been able to follow—sometimes. And that is enough for now.

4. The way it embraces orthodoxy without rigidity.

The other day my priest (who takes Scripture and theology about as seriously as anyone I’ve ever heard preach), referred in passing to Adam and Eve as our “mythic forbearers.”

No one broke out the pitchforks. There were no murmurs or protests. No angry blog posts. No one accused him of “getting the gospel wrong.”

For many of us, it’s a refreshing change. As Lindsey Harts wrote after hearing an Episcopal homily on God’s sovereignty in relation to the Big Bang, “It was the first time I hadn’t heard the Big Bang being bashed in a church setting.”

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Anglicanism has long been known as the via media, the “middle way” between two traditions. The Episcopal Church has also helped me navigate the middle way between unbelief and dogmatism. Ours is a faith handed down from the apostles, but not one so fragile that it cannot cope with science, with new findings about the origins of the universe, ourselves, or whatever else we might discover.

Ours is not a fear-filled faith.

5. How it makes room for those who’ve been burned out, worn out, or otherwise cast out.

I love how one of my favorite preachers, Jonathan Martin, describes what drew him to an Episcopal church:

I went out of sheer, bold-faced desperation for someone to preach the gospel to me, someone to lay hands on me, and someone to offer me the Lord’s Supper. There was no motivation more noble than hoping to not starve.

A lot of us have burned out on our faith at some point—or been cast out. Maybe it’s because we grew tired of always having to pretend we have it all together. Or maybe someone’s gender or some other part of their identity excluded them from service. Maybe we were told we had to choose between science and faith. Or maybe we were just beaten down by the relentless drum of condemnation.

The Episcopal Church is a refuge, a respite, a place where we can come as we are and learn to receive grace again.

6. The way you can simply be, if that’s all you can do.

You feel it sometimes when you visit a new church. The hungry looks, sizing you up as another potential cog in the church wheel. The pressure to join this program, sign up for that group, volunteer at this event… all before anyone’s even learned your name.

I’ve been part of two Episcopal churches now, and neither one has been like that. They’ve given me space to just be. They’ve let me move at my own pace. To quote Jonathan Martin again, they’ve been places where “I can love and be loved as a human being, without my gifts or my life being commodified in any way.” Or as Lindsey Harts put it, “It’s the only place I’ve ever stepped foot into that didn’t seem to expect something of you.”

It’s not that the Episcopal Church won’t invite you to become more deeply connected. They will. But they seem to get that each person is different—and, more importantly, that people are not commodities.

(That said, if you hang around long enough, watch out. They might ask you to join the vestry when you least expect it.)

7. The way their worship can be deeply moving without resorting to emotional manipulation.

When a church tells me how I should feel (“Clap if you’re excited about Jesus!”), it smacks of inauthenticity. Sometimes I don’t feel like clapping. Sometimes I need to worship in the midst of my brokenness and confusion—not in spite of it and certainly not in denial of it.

In contrast to the standard worship formula of so many churches, “the liturgy does not try to coerce everyone into the same emotional experience,” as Jonathan Martin writes, “but in its corporate unity strangely creates space for us all to have a very personal experience of God.”

Sometimes when you stop trying to manufacture a particular emotion, you stumble into something even more profound and beautiful than you could have imagined.

8. How the “shared cup” matters more than “shared dogma.”

I have spent a lot of my life trying to get my theology right. I’ve spent years believing all the “right things” in order that I might belong. So it was jarring when a good friend explained to me that the sermon (the meat!) was not the center of Anglican worship. It’s the Eucharist, the common table around which we all gather.

We belong so that we might find a common faith together, not the other way around.

Jonathan Martin writes:

The problem in Protestantism in general, historically but much more profoundly now, is that have we far too much emphasis on getting the beliefs right. No wonder we now have over 40,000 denominations—the search for perfect doctrine is endless… At St. Peter’s, we recite the Nicene creed every week. But the practice of the liturgy… and the shared experience of the Eucharist is what holds us together. Beyond that, there is plenty of room for difference. The emphasis is not on sharing dogma so much as it is sharing the cup.

9. The way everyone is welcome as a full participant, even children.

My 4-year-old is welcome at the table every week. She is able to receive the bread and the cup even before she’s made a profession of faith. This sends a powerful message: God’s grace is for her, too. She is no less a part of the body of Christ just because she doesn’t fully understand yet what that means.

One Sunday shortly after our daughter began receiving communion, we were milling about during coffee hour. (If there was a number 12 on this list, it might be coffee hour.) As we were talking with our priest, our daughter began solemnly placing a goldfish cracker into each of our hands. Our priest picked up on what she was doing, and he played along. She was reenacting what she’d just been part of in the sanctuary.

The Episcopal Church is a place that nurtures those first small, occasionally faltering steps of faith—and welcomes the full participation of those who take them.

10. How it reminds me that I’m part of something bigger.

My first real experience of liturgy was in the UK. We lived for a short time in a village an hour north of London, and we began attending the parish church. Every Sunday on our way into the 700-year-old building, we’d walk through the churchyard, past the weatherworn graves of long-dead parishioners who’d prayed in the same pews, whispered the same prayers, and sang the same songs for centuries.

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I need to be reminded that my faith does not begin or end with me—that, to quote a comment from Rachel’s blog, it’s “something that you don’t really own.”

11. How at the altar, we’re all the same.

It’s been said the ground is level at the foot of the cross. I don’t think I’ve appreciated that quite as much anywhere as in the Episcopal Church.

At the altar, we all kneel, as Lindsey Harts put it. We all receive what we cannot do for ourselves. We all confess our weakness—that even the gifts we bring were God’s gifts to us in the first place. We all receive the same body and blood.

We need to do a lot better at cultivating and embracing diversity in our midst…but the altar is as good a place as any to start.

—//—

Many of these things can, of course, be found in other traditions as well. But for me, it’s been the Episcopal Church that has nurtured my faith, breathing new life into me. May you find beauty in whatever tradition you call home. May God breathe new life into your faith—wherever you are.

Related: Four things I want for the Episcopal Church

177 thoughts on “11 things I love about the Episcopal Church

  1. younglady
    This is so good and concise in describing the Episcopal Church of which we have been a part since 1960, we were curious is it possible we could have a copy? My husband is a retired Episcopal priest and could use this as a teaching tool in parts of sermons.

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  2. Marvelous, meaningful, and moving! A rich blessing of precious thoughts.

    This is beautifully written, and entirely speaks to my condition! I plan to read it again in a day or two not only to enjoy it once more, but also to make sure that I did not miss anything! Truly a joy to read, as well are all the excellent comments. Thanks much to everyone.

    Peace, prayers and blessings from the blustery north!

    p.s.
    Many thanks to she who shared this with me!

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  3. All the wonderful , liturgical descriptions of love , tradition and meaning and apostolic sound very Roman Catholic to me , here we are talking 2000 years not 700. Check it out !

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  4. We are not saying what those buried in the churchyard have been saying for hundreds of years! We are messing with the language to be politically correct. “Father/Mother God”, etc. As a poet, it is an offense to the beauty of the King James era and its timeless beauty of language. So, we change the language to accommodate every new special interest group every few decades, or we leave it alone.

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  5. Furthermore: We can’t even say, “Our father who art in heaven”! There is always some pushy person with an agenda and a loud voice who messes the prayer up from the get-go. It is not to be contentious that we try to pray. It totally interferes with a spirit of prayer to interject controversy instead of a humble heart. We are addressing Eternity here not the flavor of the week (relatively speaking) fad.

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  6. The Episcopal Church was a wonderful history of good liturgy. Unfortunately, these days with the rejection of Biblical morality on many issues from the Trinity to abortion to marriage to woman priests people are fleeing with their feet. I don’t see much hope for the Episcopal Church. I know several former Episcopalians who have found a new home in the Anglican Rite of the Catholic Church. Parishes are popping up everywhere.

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  8. “Our priest picked up on what [your four-year-old daughter] was doing, and he played along.”
    He wasn’t playing along. There was something deeper going on there and he knew it. The work of children is play. Praise God you had a priest wise enough to “play along.” Praise God you were a wise enough parent not to hush her up.

    You might look into Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, a widely used educational approach in the Episcopal Church which develops children’s spiritual vocabulary (mostly nonverbal) beginning about age 3.

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  9. And this is what I hate about the Episcopal Church. I will not deny for many people it is a great thing. For most. But there are victims. Not many but there are victims. And because there are so few their voices are ignored and the Church itself does not see reason or care for those individuals. What can these individuals do against something so wealthy, powerful and popular.
    So nobody does anything. The leadership won’t waste their time on an individual, especially when any of their own are at fault and it might make them look bad. And the people who love the church won’t stand up and protest against injustice done by the thing they love. The Roman Catholic Church is still huge despite the evils done by their clergy.
    Maybe what needs to be done is the victims unite together. Then we will be noticed. Then Schori won’t be able.to ignore us any more.

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    • If you think about it it is a bit like what happened in the Roman Catholic Church. I think the statistics are like only 4%. And before it really came out few tried to say or do anything. But the few who did were ignored. Easier for the Church to ignore them, even blame them for what happened. Easier to loose one uppity parishioner than face such a scandal. And if they spoke up to friends I am sure many told them to just forgive and move on or say they will pray for the victim. But how many stood up and stood with the victim and said no. They would not be a part of something that allowed such cruelties. It wasn’t until more and more spoke up, years later. And yet still millions are still a part of the Roman Catholic Church.
      I say what happened to me should be a concern for the entire church. Because when the norm is to neglect victims. When the norm is money, position and power first. When the norm is nitpicking at laws and rules and forgetting the real message of the Gospels. When the norm is doing what helps me first and doing what is right and compassionate second. . . .

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    • As of November 1, 2015, the Episcopal Church has a new Presiding Bishop. Is that going to change your point of view? While whining about being a “victim” of the Episcopal Church, what have you personally done to get your point of view heard?

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  11. I have been an Episcopalian most of my life with a 16 year stint as an American Baptist. I love the Episcopal service, the liturgy, the music as we all do. But, where I go and generations of my family have in western NY is like most churches here, having spent down its endowment, having very few young people attending,, almost no children attending, we are mostly 50 years old and above, and the congregation is 50% less than it was a decade ago.

    We also have a beautiful old church building that takes lots of upkeep. We are a founding member with three other churches of a community Christian project that serves people in many ways in our small town, village and town 7 thousand people. While the Liturgy is nice, there was a new liturgy that the Episcopal Church published, it in 2010. Neither my priest or the bishop of my diocese or another very close by, its bishop, none will comment on how the 2010 one was received, or if it is even used in western NY or anywhere else. It is available at Amazon.com, and no one that has purchased it has commented on it.

    Also there is an alternative Episcopal hymnal with more folksy hymns than the tried and true ones in our official ‘blue’ hymnal. Does anyone have any information on this 2010 liturgy and alt. hymnal? This alt. Episcopal hymnal is available at Amazon.com as well. A member of our church, very occassionally sings and plays guitar of hymns from this hymnal and it has been used in youth summer camps, but otherwise, nothing is heard of it where I go.

    We used to have successive generations of families of people attending our Episcopal Church, but now we have none. Some are not interested in continuing to go to church, and others, many others found jobs in other states after graduation from hs or college and are not here to carry on. Few people completely new to the Episcopal Church visit or stay.

    What are other Episcopal Churches doing in a similar situation to mine? Would this 2010 liturgy and more use of this alternative hymnal and a Facebook page for our church to get the word out, our doing a more modern service every fourth Sunday, help bring new people in? There was ‘Rejoice,’ an Episcopal alternative, more modern, more simple liturgy and service in the Episcopal Church in the 60s and 70s, but then it ended. It used to be one Sunday a month.

    Any suggestions for us, nearly a 200 year old church in western, NY? Thanks

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    • “A Church in western NY” isn’t very helpful. How about the name of the Diocese to which your church belongs. By all means, create a Facebook Page for your Parish!! I’m sure that there is someone available to help you even create a Website, for your parish.
      As for changes in the Liturgy, how about getting on the Vestry or Bishop’s Committee, if you are a “mission” rather than a Parish? How about suggesting and then with your Priest’s permission, forming a “Worship Committee”?

      Is the whole tenor of you Diocese to be very Conservative? That would indeed make it difficult for you. However, go one websites of groups of Episcopalians, for support and suggestions.

      Praying for you.

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  12. Wonderful. That is exactly have I felt when introduced to the Episcopal Church 42 years ago. I was brought up in an evangical churc and new as a teenager that I would find a church that I could embrace. My husband and I have never regretted our decision.

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  13. Okay, I’ll be the skunk at the garden party — mostly because I’d truly like to have my impressions challenged.

    When I’m in an Episcopal Church, I start to wonder about those terms Kierkegaard was so fond of — the ethical, the aesthetic, and the religious. Mostly, the Episcopal churches I’ve attended appeal to my aesthetic — they are learned places, their vocabulary is lovely, they don’t call it “high church” for nothing. And the decor –so tasteful! Not a plastic flower or any tacky Jesus jewelry in sight. So I have to wonder — did I just outgrow (class-wise) those ticky-tacky evangelical places I was stuck in for years?

    I feel my low church blood start to boil though, when I see the get-ups and the titles of the clergy. I saw one guy (priest) change clothes no less than 3 times — he just kept adding more and more gaudy sheets over his robe. (I know, there are words for these things — I just can’t bring myself to learn them.) And is he the rector, the right reverend, or the vicar? Gotta say, there seems to be a lot of ecclesiastical hierarchy to keep straight. Not to mention architectural terms. Unless maybe we’re all just in on a joke? When all those people in matching dresses start marching around, I feel like I have to suppress my giggles. How’d you guys get past that? Sure, the hipster guy in tight genes is playing a part too and can feel just as inauthentic and silly.

    I also can’t help but think the reason so many thoughtful evangelicals are going episcopalian is that they have years of MEANINGFUL reflection to rely on. (And sure, a lot of crap too.) They hear the scripture and know where it came from. They know why it matters to be given Jesus’ body. But I think they got that somewhere else.

    So can I have a little of this and a little of that please? I’d like to see women in leadership and I don’t want to debate LGBT stuff or inerrancy. I’d like to hear about and encounter God, not just the latest projects of the church. So I like the eucharist and the readings center-stage. I’d like the prayers to be well-written and big enough for everybody to step into. But I could do without the hierarchy and the Downton Abbey aspirations.

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  16. *sigh* And so it continues.

    Very well think of it this way. It is all about emotional manipulation. The liturgy, the music, the ritual, etc. When you leave church how do you feel? When you attend a funeral how do you feel? Music – even non-religious music – evokes certain emotions. Even my father, who is not a Christian says the Christmas music in stores puts him in the mood to shop. A priest once told me he will tell different people different things depending on what the person needs to hear. That he could tell me we truly do not know what happens after death but to others he would not. I have come to think of it as a form of therapy. A way of avoiding those questions we do not have certainty in their answers by avoiding them directly. Circumventing them. Priests help people feel good after a funeral.

    Another bit you may not have known about the clergy. That whole keeping your trust? That is nonsense. A priest won’t tell just anyone your secrets but they will talk to other clergy. You will be surprised to find out how much clergy are paid – and that comes out of your donations. Those vestments one person mentioned cost a ton of money. There are rules on how many times a priest can meet with someone about a topic.

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    • Ash, I don’t know where you get your information about clergy, but you need to change your sources. Yes, priest often say things differently to different people ple following a funeral. A funeral is for living people who are grieving and the priest must minister to them. You get a lot of people at funerals who are from different traditions and who may not be able to handle the grey areas we generally acknowledge in the Episcopal church.

      As for your statements in your 2nd paragraph: 1) As a rule priests do keep confidentiality. Occasionally they will discuss a situation with other priests – under the seal of confidentiality from those priests – when they need help and advice on dealing with a situation. Even with the other priests keeping confidentiality, they will avoid using names as much as possible so the person is not identified. If you have experienced something different from the priest, that priest was in error and should be reported. 2) Salaries? There are a few priests who are paid well, but on average Episcopal churches pay *just* enough for a lower middle class lifestyle. There are many small churches that pay much less. Churches ARE required to pay into the pension plan for their clergy and to provide health insurance which often add up to half or more of the pay package. 3) the vestments *can* cost a lot, but that depends on which vestments the parish *chooses* to buy.They can even choose to have very simple vestments made locally for low prices. Often the vestments are bought by someone who wants to give them as a gift to the church and the cost is set with that person. And those vestments last for years, often for decades, so the cost per use is low. 4)The only limits on how many times an Episcopal priest can meet with you about a given topic with you are those set by the individual clergyperson. There are no set limits because you never know which time a breakthrough wiil finally happen.

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  17. Ben, You’ve identified many of the reasons I returned to the Episcopal Church last year. It’s openness and non-judgmental stance seems to me to embody the essence of Christ’s message. And, while not for everyone, I have a hunch that “high church” liturgy may grow in appeal in coming years. If I want rock and roll or folk music (and I often do) I’ll seek that out from secular sources. But when I’m in church I want something more mysterious and transcendent. Anglicanism, through the Oxford movement, revived many beautiful and ancient liturgical practices and combined them with a commitment to social justice. Seems like a perfect match to me. I know the vestments and holy hardware can seem extravagant to some. But the question for me is not why the church is so fancy, but how do we make the rest of the world both more beautiful and more just? In short, let’s make God’s kingdom in the here and now, not at the end of time.

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  20. Reblogged this on Persona and commented:
    I have just dioscovered Ben Irwin and I like a lot what I see.
    I reblog this, as it reflects well many of the things that brought be to Anglicanism, be it in a more Eastern form.

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  29. Hi Ben, Thanks for sharing this. Our family is 3 years new to the Episcopal Church. My husband was raised Catholic, and I, nothing. I was baptized when I was 8 months pregnant with our only son. I greatly appreciated the church’s (and my home parish’s) willingness to meet me where I was in terms of belief and to give it space to grow. And grow it has. I also love the willingness to include children in worship and our priest encourages children to receive the Eucharist whenever they are ready. In our son’s case, it was when he was about 18 months old and he snatched the wafer right from my hand! We asked the priest if that was okay, and he said yes, of course, and at 2, he kneels at the rail with us, and he also frequently plays “Communion” at home. It’s a really amazing thing to observe.

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  30. I was raised Catholic, became Episcopalian when I married many years ago. Had a really hurtful experience, and expressed a lot of anger at the time. My anger was criticised and ignored. I left the church in anger. Spent many years as a Unitarian-agnostic, but could not bring myself to be an atheist. Was invited, kicking and screaming to an Episcopal service, and found out what many in these articles have said – there is room to explore my faith – non-faith – questioning. Tried not to recite the Creed once during a service and felt as though I had exiled myself from everything. There is still a lot I cannot say I believe about the faith, but as an Episcopalian, I am permitted to say “Lord, I believe, help thou my unbelief.” The past two Holy Weeks have been times of being touched greatly by God. Jesus is spoken at the church where I belong, and He beckons me constantly. He has the same twinkle in His eye for me that He had for “Doubting Thomas”.

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  34. I have always found the Episcopal Church to be inclusive rather than exclusive. There has always been room for questions doubts and fears to be expressed without ridicule. It has always welcomed the outcast, the never-loved, and the doubters I started attending the Episcopal church for my family but stayed for myself. The church saw me through addiction, mental illness and heartbreak. When my nine year old daughter had a heart transplant the church started a prayer vigil where there were two people praying in the sanctuary day and night. During this time they supported me financially, emotionally and prayerfully. Groups of parishioners would come to the hospital and bring food, comfort and prayers. I can never repay the kindness and the support the Episcopal church gave me. Nor can I ever thank them enough for the ministry of faith and fellowship it has brought me through things liker my daughters heart transplant, Cursillo and EFM. The liturgy that I hear every week always bring me solace, energy, love and forgiveness.I attend the Lords table not just for solace but also for renewal, not just for forgivness but as a means of living through God. Thanks for letting me ramble – Lewis

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  35. Wow Ben…this is the third post I’ve read this morning from you and I’m scared…what you’ve said speaks to me in the most powerful way…this CAN’T be the Christianity I’m used too! You’ve taken every excuse I’ve had for visiting the local Episcopal church (I’ve toyed with it for a year or two now) and the reasons you’ve provided are sound and sane….a rare combination in the Protestant Faith now days.

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  36. 4 Things I Hate About the Episcopal Church

    1) That in 15 years of nearly weekly attendance, I never heard a simple presentation of the Gospel outside the liturgy, though I was active in the life of the church (EYC, acolyting, Sunday School).

    2) That the Episcopal Church continues to spend millions each year litigating against congregations who have left over doctrinal differences. When the TEC wins, which it usually does, she refuses to sell these church building back to the departed congregation, instead selling them to non-Christian groups (e.g., see http://www.virtueonline.org/binghamton-ny-episcopal-diocese-sells-historic-church-muslims)

    3) That when two members of my parish’s vestry (one a warden) had a lesbian adulterous affair ending the marriage of one, neither resigned, nor were they rebuked, much less disciplined by the Rector or Bishop.

    4)That the Rector of my former parish wrote an Easter op-ed proclaiming the “spiritual,” but non-bodily resurrection of Jesus. I guess this explains #1.

    All that said, I am thankful for the Anglican elements (the liturgy, the architecture, the wonderful sacred music) of my upbringing. I continue to enjoy elements of them in the ACNA, but never again in the Episcopal Church if it continues as long as it continues in its heterodox ways.

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  37. I grew up Baptist, switched to Methodism in college, and now as an adult I am a proud Episcopalian. I finally found a place that calls to me the way I call for it, and I could not be happier. Great article, thank you for sharing our wonderful middle way!

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  38. I agree with all of these, but when I got to the one about England l nearly had a heart attack! I come from a churchless background, and I always had a negative view of Christian churches. The strands of Christianity I had been exposes to with rock concert worship sessions and insistence on having to be happy all the f’in time just drew me away. They were too feel goody. But then I studied abroad in England and got up the courage to walk into an Anglo-Catholic service. When I came back to the States I found an Episcopal parish and, well, I’m hooked. 🙂

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  39. Pingback: 11 things I love about the Episcopal Church | St. Stephen's Episcopal Church

  40. Pingback: 12 Things I LOVE About Orthodoxy | Orthodoxia

  41. Pingback: 12 Things I Love About Orthodoxy - St. Barnabas Orthodox Church

  42. I found this as we are exploring an Episcopalian church membership. We are currently Lutheran (Missouri Synod) and finding it increasingly difficult to reconcile the church’s teachings with our beliefs. We have a 13 year old son who is gay and this has been increasingly difficult for him, as well as our family. On advice of a friend, we reached out to a local Episcopal church. We attended our first service on Sunday and it was amazing. For the first time in a long time, I felt uplifted. I felt God. I looked at the face of my son who would literally have to be forced out to church on Sunday mornings, and saw his happiness and his relief. He commented today that even though I told him that other churches believe other things about LGBT people, it was hard for him to believe that God’s love could really be open to him. It both broke my heart and lifted it up at the same time. I’m not diving in and learning all I can. Thank you for your post. It was lovely to read.

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  43. I found my home in the Episcopal church after 60 years as a Roman Catholic. Your writing resonated with me because it echoed the sense of peace and welcome and belonging that I found behind the red door, and I am so grateful to be unapologetically Episcopalian.

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