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Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Interfaith Outreach Of A New Sort

The Episcopal Church of the Redeemer in Jacksonville had a theological dispute with their bishop. I don't know quite what it was over.

I do know my mother drew the line in HER diocese when the Druids and so forth were acceptable ministers but the orthodox ministers were being deposed by their Bishop (in PA), and when PA bishop met with her vestry, the bishop insisted that there were many Christs. The Druid and Wiccan services were just part of their interfaith outreach. I know this is true because my mother was there and she told me. This was all happening at the same time as other ministers were being binged out because they did not believe in ordination of women, etc. The message my mother got was that the only thing that was intolerable in her diocese was an orthdox Episcopalian. That witch thing is a real hurdle for orthodox Episcopalians, because that's one of Jesus' commands. Your orthodox Episcopalians are not exactly traditional Bible-thumping fundamentalists, you understand, but there is pretty much an orthodox consensus that the Ten Commandments are not the Ten Suggestions, and that anything the Gospels agree that Jesus said is pretty binding.

In any case, as a consequence of their theological dispute, the Floridian bishop told the rector and the vestry that they were deposed, and he would appoint new ones to his liking.

Needless to say, this was an issue. The organization of the Episcopal church has always been such that congregations elect their vestries, and the vestry finds their own rector. So there is no real precedent for what has been happening all over the Episcopal church in America (once ECUSA, now TEC - as the membership diminishes the name becomes more arrogant). A dispute developed over who had the right to do what, and a Florida court handed down a judgment in the bishop's favor, thus effectively pitching out the rector, the vestry, and the vast majority of the congregation. You can find a link to the summary judgment here.

OK, so far tolerance has not exactly ruled the day. But the dehoused congregation has found a new home to worship - the Beth Israel Jewish Temple, which agreed to rent them space. On Saturday, Beth Israel meets. On Sunday, the Church of the Redeemer meets. One of the displaced:
"This area out here is better than anything we had. So it's just a wonderful area for us to carry on," said Church of the Redeemer parishoner, Bob Hutton.

Lebhar says he expects the Beth Israel building to be the church's home for about 2 years.
Bwhaahahaaaa. I think it's a tolerance lesson for us all.... The Church of the Redeemer has a new bishop - in Uganda, and it is worshipping in the temple. Nothing like going back to your roots!!!! From their first service:

The torah and the menorah in the background....

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