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December 19, 2006

A ’self-inflicted wound’

The Washington Post had as its lead front-page story yesterday the departure of seven Virginia churches -- including Truro, a church attended by some of my friends -- from the U.S. Episcopal Church. (I understand that number is now eight.) It was a courageous move and one that is causing a great deal of pain, as could be seen in the faces of Truro's pastor and his wife and a parishioner in a picture that ran in the print edition. It can also be felt in this quote:

"I grew up in the Episcopal Church. I hope I don't cry when I talk about this," said a shaken Katrina Wagner, 37, an accountant and member of Truro's vestry, after the congregation's vote was announced. "But the issue is: Are we going to follow Scripture?"

Ralph Webb of the Institute on Religion and Democracy concurs:

It is sad, but not surprising, that The Episcopal Church's own self-inflicted wound continues to cause the denomination to bleed. The Episcopal Church was warned by many heads of Anglican Communion provinces not to proceed with the consecration of Gene Robinson as Bishop of New Hampshire. These leaders said that it would tear the very fabric of the worldwide Anglican Communion. Tragically, this has proven true. The departure of the Virginia parishes is only one of many negative effects caused by The Episcopal Church's actions.

While Gene Robinson's consecration heightened the issues within The Episcopal Church, it is in no way the main issue for the churches that are leaving. It provides one example of how The Episcopal Church has drifted away from its Scriptural foundations, but only one.

God bless our brothers and sisters in Christ as they attempt to heal from this wound and remain faithful to the God of Scripture.

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Bravo for them! There's a very interesting article in World magazine about the African archbishops that have been counseling these separatist churches.

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