14 June 2006

Center Aisle

If you're interested in the goings-on at the 2006 General Convention of the Episcopal Church in the USA (which is going on right now in Columbus), I recommend that you check out the perspective offered by The Center Aisle, a moderate webzine (yes, we have moderates in the Episcopal Church, despite what you may have read) that's published by my own diocese, the Diocese of Virginia. Several folks whom I've met and regard highly (including Bishop Peter Lee, Fr. John Ohmer of St. James' in Leesburg, and Susan Daughtry Fawcett, who will soon join the clergy at Holy Comforter, my big church) are involved in writing, editing, and publishing the mag. It's full of good stuff.

I've only read one thing so far that I take issue with: the second "growth" goal in this article: "growth in numbers". I honestly don't think the Episcopal Church (or any church) should be concerning itself with numerical growth in membership. Membership, schmembership. I would hate to see our Anglican tradition wither and die (I don't think we'll let it), and I do (passionately) want to see us grow in discipleship, but if the institution called "The Episcopal Church in the USA" keeps on shrinking until the there's no point in keeping it up any more in anything like its current form, then I truly feel that the kingdom of God will keep breaking into this world in other forms, including ones that are both authentically Anglican and American. I hope and pray it doesn't happen - I don't want to see my denomination die! - but I think working of behalf of God's kingdom is far, far more important than working for the survival of an institution.

The other goals in the article ("growth in mission" and "growth in understanding and love with those with whom we disagree"), as well as the rest of the piece and the other stuff I've read, are spot-on, in my opinion.

Anyway, check it out!


Swandive said...

It has to be about relational growth, growth in the Spirit, growing into the full maturity into life of the Spirit. I used to be the membership director / Julie McCoy Love boat cruise director for St. Mark's Cathedral here in Minneapolis. My job was created to increase pledging. Is it any surprise the job only lasted 18 months? Numbers, numbers, numbers. Ack.

Israel said...

"I think working of behalf of God's kingdom is far, far more important than working for the survival of an institution."

Now that's a rare statement! And I'm in full agreement! Good for you Mike! that's great words!