After our dinner, I snuck away to grab a glass of water, and at the doorway to the pantry I ran into Steve. He was dressed formally, in black with a white collar, with clean rimless glasses and neatly cut hair. I don’t remember exactly what he said, but I do remember my first impression was something like, “Oh gosh, not a priest! I’ve got enough guilt already!” He thanked me for my comments during the discussion and introduced himself as the Episcopal chaplain. At the time, my knowledge was such that this brought up in my mind a small note-card which read only, “1: The American version of the Anglican Church; 2: Like the Roman Catholics, but without the pope.” (These assumptions are actually in many ways correct: the Episcopal Church is the American “daughter” of the worldwide Anglican Communion, so anyone who is Episcopalian is also Anglican.)
Steve asked about my religious background; I told him that my family is evangelical, but that I hadn’t been going to church for a while ”” two years in fact, and not because I was uninterested, but because I didn’t find our evangelical services helpful or enjoyable. I would leave on Sunday mornings feeling conflicted, angry and guilty ”” feeling unworthy without knowing how to make things right.