by Kenneth C. Kroohs

Fifth Sunday after Pentecost
Kenneth C. Kroohs
Isaiah 2:10-17; Psalm 89:1-4 and 15-18; Romans 6:3-11; Matthew 10:34- 42
June 27, 1999

The Episcopal Church in America has accepted a nick name first used for the Church of England during the reformation of the 1500's. During that time there seemed to be only two alternatives available for churches: the hierarchical Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox style and the very independent reformed or congregational style. Expressed in extreme language, it seemed as if in the hierarchical churches everyone was expected to believe and do what a tiny group of people decided they could do and believe. In the congregational churches everyone did and believed whatever they wanted!

I wish I could tell you that our style came from a careful, spiritual exercise in discernment. Actually, it came more from political compromises than deep spirituality! However, what developed was a system that is sometimes called by that nickname: "the middle way".

This phrase means that unlike the hierarchical churches, no small group of people makes decisions for everyone else. However, unlike the strongly congregational churches, we do have a process for making corporate decisions and expect that people will abide by those decisions.

Every year each congregation elects people to represent them in the diocesan convention (very similar to a state legislature). And then the diocesan convention elects representatives to the general or national convention. A good, democratic style of governance.

When we meet in convention we discuss two general types of issues. There are the legalistic or legislative issues such as the budget, changes to church law and so on. There also are resolutions about issues. For example, for a long time every convention would be presented with a resolution about abortion. When those come up we discuss, debate, argue and thereby attempt to discern what God would have us do regarding that issue. Our c ...

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