Thursday, July 09, 2009

Yet Another Reason to Dump the E-word

At the TEC General Convention Gene Robinson has exhorted The Episcopal Church to be gay and proud:

Bishop Robinson said he knew that “there are a lot of Episcopalians who say they are embarrassed when people say you are the ‘gay’ church.” To this, Episcopalians should say, “You bet we are.”

Robinson is correct that The Episcopal Church is perceived as a gay church. His happy admission of that is revealing. And his exhortation will only strengthen that perception.

And that makes it that much more urgent that the Reformed Episcopal Church dump the E-word and replace it with “Anglican”. I know personally that the E-word is a burden when attempting to attract people to our church. Normal people do not know the Reformed Episcopal Church is not *that* Episcopal Church with the gay bishop. So one has to explain that to them. And it is difficult to be attractive and winsome when one of the first things you say is “We are not *that* church.” It is awkward to say the least.

That’s not to mention the untold numbers of people who pass on by your church and reject it without a second thought because they see the E-word. And, frankly, I don’t blame them.

My parish is probably about to remove the E-word from its name, and I’m glad of it. Now I will say that there may be legal commitments of the REC that I am not aware of that would make changing the name of the whole jurisdiction difficult. And if we stay the Reformed Episcopal Church, we have overcome worse burdens.

But our bishops have already encouraged us to emphasize our “Anglican” identity. Given the heavy and increasing baggage of the E-word, that is wise and godly council indeed.

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