Episcopal split an aching wound

02/24/2013 5:00 PM

02/23/2013 10:06 PM

The ongoing criticism of Issac Bailey's column about church division baffles me. Bailey described each viewpoint and said that the differences are too basic and absolute for people who hold them to come together in one congregation. Is that not true?

I grew up Episcopalian. Like most kids, I didn't truly appreciate it and the values it taught me, but as I grew older, they meant more.

It's ironic that by the time I felt drawn back to the church of my childhood, it ceased to exist. When I saw the words “Episcopal Church” stripped off the sign at the parish in which I was married, I actually came to tears.

Now we have a national Episcopal Church with liberal doctrine and values, and we have a breakaway conservative branch joined by most of the diocese of South Carolina.

The national Episcopal Church no longer affirms the creed on which mainstream Christianity was founded. They consider belief in a creator God and a resurrected Christ to be outdated, and prefer to focus on working for peace and justice.

The breakaway Anglican church, on the other hand, affirms the creed and its description of the Trinity. Yet they view gay orientation as being caused by a fallen world and even the most committed, loving gay relationship as a matter of sin.

I realize that each side sincerely believes it is the true carrier of the Episcopal Church's original mission, and I envy those who feel at home in one, either one, of the two branches.

I bear no ill will to the conservative or to the liberal congregations, each of whom is surely grieving the irreconcilable nature of the differences and probably prays for the other. I know that we all see as “through a glass, darkly” in this life, and upholding what is right can be painful. Still, I'm angry that the leaders, both of them, have killed the church that baptized, confirmed and married me.

United, the Episcopal Church was a place we could worship together, but neither branch resembles the place I knew, and those of us who agree with some of the tenets of each branch, but can't accept others, no longer have a place where our views are embraced, even if they will be tolerated.

The writer lives in Murrells Inlet.

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