Friday, July 31, 2009

The Episcopal Church leads the way

I saw this article in The Episcopal Cafe and just had to repost it...

Marion Hatchett, a beloved professor of liturgics at Sewanee and a key figure in the development of the 1979 Prayer book and the 1982 Hymnal has some words of exhortation for the Episcopal Church.

Quoting a speech he gave at General Seminary earlier this year:

"The American Church jumped way out ahead of the Church of England and other sister churches in a number of respects. One was in giving voice to priests and deacons and to laity (as well as bishops and secular government officials) in the governance of the national church and of dioceses and of parishes. The early American Church revised the Prayer Book in a way that went far beyond revisions necessitated by the new independence of the states.

At its beginning the American Church legalized the use of hymnody along with metrical psalmody more than a generation before use of 'hymns of human composure' became legal in the Church of England. At an early stage the American Church gave recognition to critical biblical scholarship.

The American Church eventually gave a place to women in various aspects of the life of the church including its ordained ministry. The American Church began to speak out against discrimination against those of same-sex orientation, and the American Church began to make moves in establishing full communion with other branches of Christendom.

Historically the American Church has been the flag-ship in the Anglican armada. It has been first among the provinces of the Anglican Communion to take forward steps on issue after issue, and on some of those issues other provinces of Anglicanism have eventually fallen in line behind the American Church. My prayer is that the American Church will be able to retain its self-esteem and to stand firm and resist some current movements which seem to me to be contrary to the principles of historic Anglicanism and to the teachings of the Holy Scriptures."

I am proud of the leadership my church continually offers to the larger Anglican (and Christian) community.

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