Thursday, January 04, 2007

Regarding Abp. Akinola's New Churches in Virginia

Jim Naughton points us to an item in the Washington Post:

At least two-thirds of the worshipers are Methodists, Presbyterians or Baptists, and there is no pressure on them to be confirmed as Episcopalians, said the Rev. Rick Wright, associate rector.

Wright said the diverse membership of both congregations illustrates one of the great changes in American religion of the past half-century: The divisions between denominations are far less important today than the divisions within denominations.

"I tend to feel very comfortable rubbing shoulders with folks at McLean Bible or Columbia Baptist . . . that are real orthodox, evangelical, biblical churches," said Truro's chief warden, or lay leader, Jim Oakes, referring to two Northern Virginia megachurches. "We share core beliefs. I think I would be more comfortable with them than with anyone I might run into at an Episcopal Diocesan Council meeting."
From Title 1, Canon 17:

Sec. 1 (a) All persons who have received the Sacrament of Holy Baptism with water in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, whether in this Church or in another Christian Church, and whose Baptisms have been duly recorded in this Church, are members thereof.
(b) Members sixteen years of age and over are to be considered adult members.
(c) It is expected that all adult members of this Church, after appropriate instruction, will have made a mature public affirmation of their faith and commitment to the responsibilities of their Baptism and will have been confirmed or received by the laying on of hands by a Bishop of this Church or by a Bishop of a Church in communion with this Church. Those who have previously made a mature public commitment in another Church may be received by the laying on of hands by a Bishop of this Church, rather than confirmed.
It appears that 60% of the members of these congregations had no interest in living into the expectations of what it means to be an Episcopalian. It is not surprising that they would vote to leave TEC, since they were never a part of it. One wonders if this congregationalist approach to defining membership will be embraced by Abp. Akinola?

I agree with Jim's comment; " seems to me that it relieves us of the responsibility of listening to these folks when they start lecturing us about what it means to be truly Anglican."


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