One Parish's Agony in the Midst of the Episcopal Church Crisis

“We’ve been torn””all of us,” said Diane Friend, a parishioner who voted to align with the Anglican Church and is leaving St. John’s as a result of the vote.

The Episcopal Church “has gotten away from the Gospel” and is interpreting scripture in a new way to support positions the Bible does not, Friend said.
“We’ve lost a lot of families in the last few years because of this issue,” Friend said. “More are leaving than coming.”

Within the congregation there was “a lot of agonizing, a lot of tears and a lot of flip-flopping as we got closer to the vote,” [the Rev. Rob] Eaton said. “When the vote came, I was just a mess, getting sick too. A lot of others were feeling a lot of anxiety.” Eaton, who describes himself as “a conservative, Bible-believing disciple of Christ,” said he did not want to align with the Southern Cone because he felt God was calling him to remain an Episcopal priest.

In a letter he wrote to parishioners on the church’s Web site in December, he spoke of “strident” voices in both the liberal and conservative camps of the U.S. church and said there is a need for a “clear and reasonable voice” from within the denomination.

“Perhaps this is part of why the Lord continues to call me to be a priest within the Episcopal Church…I know it’s not because He thinks this is going to keep my blood pressure down,” he wrote.

While Eaton felt God was calling him to stay within the Episcopal Church, he said others in his parish felt just as strongly God was calling them to leave.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: San Joaquin