Saturday, January 11, 2014

People of the Way

Anglicans and Episcopalians should read
"People of the Way," by the Rev. Dwight J. Zscheile
even though the author does not quite fulfill
the subtitle, "Renewing Episcopal Identity."

He spends a good deal of print chronicling
the demise of the "Establishment" Episcopal church,
that was the worship site for country club members
and the movers and shakers of a local community.

The author proposes a "mission" church
which directs its offerings to all residents.
He details how some Episcopal parishes
Have found unique ways to serve their congregants.

Carefully avoiding being ensnared in
the theological thicket that divides
the Anglican Communion, Zscheile argues
for autonomy of action at the parish level.

He proposes that "local churches become
the primary centers of mission and that
dioceses be the the means of networking
those churches into a collaborative whole."

Thus the command and control mode of
organization in The Episcopal Church would
be replaced by the "flotilla of lifeboats"
strategy of the Anglican Church in North America.

Rev. Zscheile is not so bold as to advocate
revolution within the Episcopal ranks.
Rather, he sees local parishes as needing
to be innovative in order to survive.

That does not really establish an "identity"
for a denomination which has relied on a
"progressive" set of beliefs to attract and
hold a significant number of new members.

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