Philadelphia Inquirer: A church is set to turn an important corner

Half a dozen years ago, a congregation looked one last time toward the building raised by members’ hands and out across the graves in the churchyard, and wept. Then, the churchgoers turned and left.
This week, they’ll install a new rector, welcome the public to a talk by an Anglican bishop from Rwanda, and play host for the second time to a regional meeting of their new affiliate, the Anglican Mission in the Americas.

“God has blessed our socks off,” said the Rev. Kenneth Cook, assistant to the rector at what was St. John’s Episcopal Church of Huntingdon Valley and now is St. John the Evangelist Anglican Church of Churchville.

“It’s a cool church,” said the Rev. Mark E. Rudolph, scheduled to be installed as its rector Thursday. Rudolph, who was ordained in the Reformed Episcopal Church and served seven years as rector at St. Philips in Warminster, described his path to St. John’s as “circuitous.”

And it was, at least compared to the path walked by members of St. John’s Montgomery County parish ”“ which was decisively away from the Episcopal Church USA. They were among those who broke with the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania over church trends they feared veered too far from fundamental beliefs.

They were not among those who plunged into legal battle with the diocese over “sticks and bricks,” as they call it.

“If we are going to live and die for this property,” Cook said, remembering the agonizing talks, “we might as well admit this is an idol for us.”

Read it all.

Posted in Uncategorized

3 comments on “Philadelphia Inquirer: A church is set to turn an important corner

  1. TomRightmyer says:

    The chart of St. John’s Huntington Valley shows the drop in numbers after 2003. Those who report the figures are to be commended for their honest recognition of the facts.

  2. justme says:

    You are in for an awesome time with Bishop Alexis. He visited us in Attleboro last week including Sunday – he is awesome

  3. Paul PA says:

    Interesting to look at what the old church building became – this is the “vision” from their website: Does this cause anyone to revisit the question of “fighting” over properties?

    By calling ourselves progressive, we mean that we are Christians who…

    1. Have found an approach to God through the life and teachings of Jesus;

    2. Recognize the faithfulness of other people who have other names for the way to God’s realm, and acknowledge that their ways are true for them, as our ways are true for us;

    3. Understand the sharing of bread and wine in Jesus’s name to be a representation of an ancient vision of God’s feast for all peoples;

    4. Invite all people to participate in our community and worship life without insisting that they become like us in order to be acceptable (including but not limited to):

    believers and agnostics,
    conventional Christians and questioning skeptics,
    women and men,
    those of all sexual orientations and gender identities,
    those of all races and cultures,
    those of all classes and abilities,
    those who hope for a better world and those who have lost hope;

    5. Know that the way we behave toward one another and toward other people is the fullest expression of what we believe;

    6. Find more grace in the search for understanding than we do in dogmatic certainty – more value in questioning than in absolutes;

    7. Form ourselves into communities dedicated to equipping one another for the work we feel called to do: striving for peace and justice among all people, protecting and restoring the integrity of all God’s creation, and bringing hope to those Jesus called the least of his sisters and brothers; and

    8. Recognize that being followers of Jesus is costly, and entails selfless love, conscientious resistance to evil, and renunciation of privilege.