The Fresno, CA-based Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin yesterday became the first full diocese to split from the national church over disagreements about the Bible’s view of homosexuality. The diocese, which is also one of the three US Episcopal dioceses that rejects the ordination of women, voted to place itself under the authority of a conservative South American congregation. Over 50 Episcopal parishes have seceded from the national church in the past few years to protest the trend toward recognition of gay relationships. CNN.com has the full story here.
I find it sad and ironic that in the name of upholding “tradition”, certain Episcopal congregations are playing fast and loose with our entire system of church governance, as well as dishonoring their vows to respect the authority of their bishop. There are many Protestant denominations that operate on a more congregationalist model, where individual churches are free to reshuffle their allegiance when doctrines or personalities clash. The Episcopal Church is not one of them.
Is the episcopate a flawed system? Do we want every person, every church, to vote their own conscience and pull up stakes when their superiors fall below some level of doctrinal purity? That’s a popular position, especially in hyper-individualistic America, but don’t call it historic Anglicanism. It’s more like those 1970s wedding vows where you promised to stay together only as long as you were both meeting each other’s needs for self-actualization.
And they say the gays are ruining marriage.