Shawna Atteberry

Writer, Teacher, Baker

Ash Wednesday Liturgies at Chicago Grace Episcopal Church

Chicago Grace Episcopal Church will be having two Ash Wednesday services including imposition of ashes on Wednesday, February 17. The first service is at 12:15–1:15 p.m. The second service is 6:00–7:00 p.m. with a soup and bread supper following the liturgy. All are welcome to come. I will be attending the service in the evening. Our church is on Printer’s Row, 637 S. Dearborn, right next door to Kasey’s Tavern, and our sanctuary is on the second floor.

Tonight we say good-bye to the alleluias. This hymn from The Saint Helena Breviary helps us to tuck them away until Easter.

Alleluia, song of gladness,

hymn of endless joy and praise.

Alleluia is the worship

that celestial voices raise

and, delighting in God’s glory,

sing in heaven’s courts always.

Alleluia, blessed Salem,

home of all our hopes on high.

Alleluia, sing the angels;

Alleluia, saints reply;

but we, for a time on this earth,

chant a simpler melody.

Alleluias we now forfeit

in this holy time of Lent.

Alleluias we relinquish

as we for our sins repent,

trusting always in God’s mercy

and in Love omnipotent.

Blessed Trinity of Glory,

hear your people as we pray.

Grant that we may know the Easter

of the Truth, the Life, the Way,

chanting endless alleluias

in the realms of endless day. Amen.

A huge thank you to Bosco at Liturgy for having it all typed out, so I wouldn’t have to do it. Bosco also posted a Shrove Tuesday mediation.

Procrastinating on Your Lenten Discipline?

Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. Am I the only one procrastinating on choosing a Lenten discipline? To be honest, I’ve been procrastinating on writing this article most of the day. I tweeted that I was going to write this blog post around 11:30 this morning, and I’m just now starting it at almost 6:00 p.m. I figured I wasn’t the only one dragging my feet on choosing something to do or give up for Lent, so here are a few of things I’ve thought of.

Lectio Divina

Lectio Divina means divine reading. It is a slow meditative reading of a passage of the Bible or a spiritual book. There are three movements of lectio divina: meditation (meditatio), prayer (oratio), and contemplation (contemplatio).

  • Meditation/meditatio: Read the passage three times out loud, slowly. The first time simply read through. The second time be aware of any words that pop out at you. The third time read until you reach the place that spoke to you on the second reading. Ask yourself: Why does this stand out? What is it saying to me? Why is the Spirit bringing this to my attention? Mull it over.
  • Prayer/oratio: Take whatever you find to Godde in prayer. Whether it’s gratitude, sorrow, joy, or repentance, pray about what the passage has said to you, and your response to it.
  • Contemplation/contemplatio: Choose a word from your reading or prayer that best expresses your experience during meditation and prayer. Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. Spend a few minutes in silence, listening to Godde. If your mind wanders silently say the word you chose.
  • If you want, journal your lectio experience.

Online resource: Garden of Grace

The Daily Examen

The Daily Examen is a thoughtful look at the day to see how we saw and responded to Godde’s grace through what we did, our responses to the people we met though the day, and our emotions. says

The Daily Examen is a technique of prayerful reflection on the events of the day in order to detect God’s presence and discern [God’s] direction for us. The Examen is an ancient practice in the Church that can help us see God’s hand at work in our whole experience.

Here is one way of practicing the Daily Examen from Ignatian Sprituality:

  • Become aware of God’s presence.
  • Review the day with gratitude.
  • Pay attention to your emotions.
  • Choose one feature of the day and pray from it.
  • Look toward tomorrow. has many different examens listed at their site.

The Daily Office

The Daily Office is praying through the day. Prayers are said in the Morning, at Noon, in the Evening, and at Night (before bed). In the longer offices of Morning and Evening Prayer two or three psalms are said or chanted, one or two passages of Scripture are read, then there  is time for prayers. In the shorter offices of Noon and Night (or Compline) a short psalm or a portion of a psalm is read or chanted and two or three verses of Scripture are read before prayers.

Two places you can pray the Daily Office online are at The Online Book of Common Prayer (click Daily Office on the menu) and Mission St. Clare. Mission St. Clare has the hymns in each office in karaoke so you can sing along. Fun!

If you’re like me and can’t pray on the computer, you can order the Book of Common Prayer* from Amazon, along with Phyllis Tickle’s The Divine Hours.* If you want a Daily Office that is gender inclusive, The St. Helena Breviary: Personal Edition* is wonderful.


Hospitality is one of the bedrocks of Christianity. Jesus liked to eat with people (especially people he wasn’t supposed to eat with) a lot. Jesus instituted Communion during the family meal and celebration of Passover. Early Christians gathered together to eat and share their resources with one another. Early in our history we started feeding people who couldn’t feed themselves. One of the most basic practices of Christians is feeding each other and feeding other people. I know, I know, a lot of people fast or give up a certain food group for Lent, but giving up food has never been a spiritual discipline for me.  Probably because I grew up with the skinnier-is-better and the “Diet! Diet! Diet!” culture, I just cannot consider giving up food to be a spiritual discipline (also my birthday always falls during Lent, and I’m eating my meat and cake!). If fasting is your thing, then go for it. However, I do make a suggestion: put aside the money you saved not buying sweets, pop, or meat, and at the end of Lent, give the money to a food pantry or homeless shelter. This is a personal preference: I much prefer to add something than just give up something for Lent.

Back to hospitality and food. If, like me, you like to feed people and feel it’s an important part of your spirituality here are two ways to practice hospitality during Lent:

  • Invite friends and family over for meals at your home. Decide how many times you want to provide hospitality during Lent. Then start meal planning and inviting.
  • Volunteer at a homeless shelter or food pantry to help feed the hungry people in your community. Provide hospitality to those who need it the most.

A last resource that has all of these disciplines plus more is Marjorie J. Thompson’s Soul Feast: An Invitation to the Christian Spiritual Life.* It’s a good resource that you will go back to again and again.

I hope this helps you in deciding a discipline to bring you closer to Godde during Lent. Do you have anything to add to the list? What are thinking of giving up or adding for Lent? I’m leaning toward Lectio Divina myself. It’s been a long time since I practiced it, and it has always been one of my favorites.

*Affliate links

Company Girl Friday: The book proposal doesn't suck so much edition

Yes, that’s right Company Girls. I made progress on Career Women of the Bible, and it doesn’t suck as much! It’s not good, but there’s not the gnashing of teeth and pulling  out hair that was normal for oh-so-long. Oh yeah, it’s a good think I have enough hair for 8 people to begin with, so I’m not bald. I spent two good afternoons working at the library this week, and it is really starting to take shape. I’m happy.

On the not so good side, I made a bad financial decision. It’s not an all bad decision, but the timing with our finances are not good, and I should’ve waited. I’m looking for freelance writing, editing, and proofing jobs for additional income. Looking for freelance work means I need to update the resume. Ugh. Hate it. All sorts of stuck and fear on this one. But yesterday I did find a resume that wasn’t to icky but did a very good job of telling what the person could do for you. Using that as a model. I also need to update my About Page on my site because it sucks. More stuck. More fear. More ugh. But I will get there. I am hoping to have both the resume updated and a new About Me page done this weekend and all bright, shiny, and new to roll out next week.

OK back to the good side:  I joined a Toastmasters Group to get better at public speaking, and expand the speaking part of My Thing. The group seems really cool, has fun, and provides good feedback. Think I’m going to like it.

My best friend, Lainie’s, birthday is today, and I’m feeding her tonight! Beef bourginon and risotto with leeks and fennel. Lainie loves cheese and honey for dessert, so dessert will be fresh baked bread, goat cheese, brie, honey, chocolate, and almonds. (Because you can’t have a celebration with chocolate.)

I was voted onto the Vestry at church, so I’ll get to see what happens behind the scenes and help make very big decisions. I’m also preaching on March 21 and leading an Adult Faith Discussion April 11 on the Women at the Resurrection.

Today’s agenda is to go to yoga class, hit Trader Joes’, and do a little cleaning.

I hope everyone has a good weekend, and make sure you go visit other Company Girls!

Funeral Service for Wayne Mass

I’ve noticed that people have come to my site through the search “Wayne Maas Chicago.” I’m assuming you are looking for information on his funeral. For every one else, Wayne was the Minister of Music at Grace Episcopal Church in Chicago. Wayne died of a heart attack earlier this week. He was young and healthy, and this has been a shock to both his family and his church. Wayne was a wonderful man who brought beautiful and thoughtful music to our services. He will be missed. Wayne’s funeral mass will be:

Saturday, November 7
Grace Episcopal Church – Oak Park
924 Lake Street

10 AM Visitation
11 AM Burial Service
Light reception following

O God, whose mercies cannot be numbered: accept our prayers on behalf of your servant Wayne, and grant him an entrance into the land of light and joy, in the fellowship of your saints; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. AMEN. (Book of Common Prayer, p. 493)

Catherine Clark Kroeger: Thou Shalt Not Tempt the Lord Thy God

This week’s article in Christians for Biblical Equality’s newsletter, Arise! is written by Catherine Clark Kroger. Catherine has worked for years to bring attention to domestic violence in the church and worked at educating churches and pastors about domestic violence and how to help both the victims and abusers.

“Thou Shalt Not Tempt the Lord Thy God”

“I am overcome with joy because of your unfailing love, for you have seen my troubles, and you care about the anguish of my soul. You have not handed me over to my enemy but have set me in a safe place” (Psalm 31:7-8, NLT).

When I answered the telephone, I found myself listening to a weeping woman. Between sobs she explained that every three weeks or so her abusive husband strangles her into unconsciousness. Though a professing Christian, he suffocates her with pillows, locks her in closets, and leaves her in terror for her life. She has turned for help to several pastors who call the couple into their office for joint counseling. I explained that couples’ counseling is inadvisable in situations of abuse, and she acknowledged that things were always worse at home after a counseling session.

She has come to realize the danger of her situation and was prepared to leave until a Christian friend told her that she must not break the covenant that she made at the marriage altar and must believe that God would work a miracle of transformation in her husband. I pointed out that her husband was the one who had broken the covenant promise to love and cherish her. A covenant is a solemn agreement between two parties, both of whom must abide by their promises. If one party refuses to honor the agreement, the covenant becomes null and void.

But this victim, who desired above all things to do God’s will, had been told that she must give the Lord enough time to change her abuser, even if that meant remaining in a life-threatening situation. I asked if she remembered the temptation of Jesus when Satan took him to the top of the pinnacle in the temple. Cleverly selecting a Bible verse, the devil urged Christ to throw himself down so that angels would bear him up and keep him from danger. But Jesus staunchly refused to risk his life in the expectation that God would perform a supernatural act. He responded “It is written ‘Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God’.” It was not a question of who could quote the best Bible verse but who could honor God and respect the laws of the natural universe.

Jesus refused to defy the force of gravity and put God on the spot for a dramatic intervention. We should not expect God to provide protection when we have taken unreasonable risks that could have been avoided. Certainly the advice provided by well-meaning Christians did not consider this victim’s safety a paramount issue. More than that, it did not consider the welfare of the abusive husband. His dangerous conduct may well have been intended to intimidate his spouse rather than to cause her actual harm, but how very easily his conduct might have escalated one step further into a terrible crime! The conduct is already very wicked and totally inconsistent with God’s purposes for a Christian family.

Separation would provide an environment that would be safer for both victim and perpetrator. A time apart would enable each partner to address some of the other issues that must be faced. The Bible tells us to flee temptation rather than continuing to dwell where we are most likely to fall into sin. We pray “deliver us from evil” but we also need to remove ourselves from situations or circumstances that can lead us into grievous sin and harm.

Indeed, David praised God for having restrained him from acting on his murderous intentions (1 Sam. 25:26, 32-34, 39) and prayed “Keep back thy servant from presumptuous sins” (Ps. 19:13; see also 51; 119:29; 120:2; 139:12-14; 141:3-4). Four times the Lord exhorted his followers to pray that they would not fall into temptation, (Matt. 2:41; Mark 14:36; Luke 22:40, 46), and he himself prayed that his own would be kept from evil (John 17:15).

God is able to keep us from falling (2 Thess. 3:3; Jude 24), but let us not tempt the Lord our God, nor place others where temptation may assail them. Rather let us look for his place of safety and peace.

Catherine Kroeger

Catherine Clark Kroeger (Ph.D., University of Minnesota)  is an adjunct associate professor of classical and ministry studies at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. She is an author, president emerita of Christians for Biblical Equality, and president of Peace and Safety in the Christian Home (PASCH).

Reflections on Leaving Ordained Life

I recently finished reading Barbara Brown Taylor’s Leaving Church: A Memoir of Faith. I’m so glad I read it. Although we left ordination for different reasons, our experience of leaving overlaps in a lot of places: The slamming realization that you can’t go on. The shame and guilt of not being able to suck it up and go on. The disorientation of what do I do now? Who am I? All those years for what? What will people think? What do I say?

The painful and brutal wilderness after making the decision. The loss of purpose. To her the loss of the institutional power and her collar and the identity it gave her. For both of us the loss of what to do now that we aren’t “chosen.” Handling being one of the masses instead of The Pastor and The Priest. Both of us have religious educations we can’t do much with outside of the church.

I was so excited when I read this in the wee hours a couple of weeks ago:

There was no sense of seeking another position at another church if my problem was with the institution, and besides, I did not want to move. How and where I lived had become more important to me than what I did for a living (emphasis mine).

Yes! That’s me! I have no desire to leave Chicago. I love the South Loop. I love the people. I love my view of Lake Michigan and watching the sailboats on the lake. I love that Grant Park in one block away. I love our condo and our life. To continue to be a Nazarene pastor, I would have had to move. I have felt guilty for that. But I have found someone else who felt the same way. “How and where I lived had become more important to me than what I did for a living.” Yes. For me too.

I also feel called to minister, right here, in the South Loop. This is where I am called to be. This is where I am called to live, to walk, to shop. This where I am called to pastor, to minister, and to worship. I always said flippantly that if The Church of the Nazarene wouldn’t let me do what God called me to do, I would leave. I just didn’t realize how hard, painful, and disorienting it would be. Like Barbara, I didn’t realize how much of my identity was wrapped up in being “a pastor.” I didn’t realize how angry and bitter I would be to realize I spent 13 years working my ass of to be ordained, only to be ordained for four years. Were those wasted years? May be not. It’s nice to know I’m not the only who has felt these things and wondered the same thoughts.

It is time to move on. Like her I love the idea of being part of the priesthood of all believers and the freedom that gives me. And I need to stop being scared of that freedom.

Related posts

A Year of Loss and New Beginnings

(There are affliate links in the post.)

Biblical Women Who Didn't Submit: Sarah

Bedouin Meets Europe by Piotr Pastusiak.

It was in this way long ago that the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves by accepting the authority of their husbands. Thus Sarah obeyed Abraham and called him lord. You have become her daughters as long as you do what is good and never let fears alarm you (1 Peter 3:4-5).

I have one question about these verses: Who is this Sarah Peter is speaking of? Because this is not the Sarah I have encountered in the Old Testament. Here are some viginettes of the Sarah we find in Genesis:

Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, bore him no children. She had an Egyptian slave-girl whose name was Hagar, and Sarai said to Abram, “You see that the LORD has prevented me from bearing children; go in to my slave-girl; it may be that I shall obtain children by her.” And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai. So, after Abram had lived ten years in the land of Canaan, Sarai, Abram’s wife, took Hagar the Egyptian, her slave-girl, and gave her to her husband Abram as a wife.

He went in to Hagar, and she conceived; and when she saw that she had conceived, she looked with contempt on her mistress. Then Sarai said to Abram, “May the wrong done to me be on you! I gave my slave-girl to your embrace, and when she saw that she had conceived, she looked on me with contempt. May the LORD judge between you and me!” But Abram said to Sarai, “Your slave-girl is in your power; do to her as you please.” Then Sarai dealt harshly with her, and she ran away from her (Genesis 16:1-6).

But Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Abraham, playing with her son Isaac. So she said to Abraham, “Cast out this slave woman with her son; for the son of this slave woman shall not inherit along with my son Isaac.” The matter was very distressing to Abraham on account of his son. But God said to Abraham, “Do not be distressed because of the boy and because of your slave woman; whatever Sarah says to you, do as she tells you, for it is through Isaac that offspring shall be named for you. As for the son of the slave woman, I will make a nation of him also, because he is your offspring” (Genesis 21:9-13).

Now Sarah also did obey Abraham when he wanted her to say she was his sister, so Abraham would not be killed by Pharaoh or Abimelech. Sarah obeyed and in both cases was taken into both rulers’ harems. But we don’t see Sarah submitting in all ways to Abraham as complementarians would have wives to submit blindly to their husbands today. It was her idea to give Hagar to Abraham as his concubine, so they could have children.  When Hagar started looking at Sarah with contempt, it was Sarah who blamed Abraham, who returned Hagar to being Sarah’s slave instead of his concubine.

It was Sarah who told Abraham that Ishmael would not inherit with her son, Isaac, and to send Hagar and Ishmael away. Godde sides with Sarah on this and tells Abraham to send Hagar and Ishmael away. Godde will honor the covenant to both women: their sons shall become nations, but Sophia-Yahweh’s covenant would go through Isaac.

1 Peter would have us believe that Sarah was always submissive. But she wasn’t. Genesis gives a very different picture of this brave, strong woman who left all she knew to follow Sophia-Yahweh and find the land Godde had promised to her and Abraham’s descendants. She told Abraham what she thought, and she made decisions that affected God’s covenant for millenia to come. Sarah was not always a nice person, and she was definitely wrong in the ways she dealt with familial problems, but she was not a submissive wallflower who blindly followed her husband.

Related Posts

Biblical Women Who Didn’t Submit: Abigail
Woman of the Week: Sarah

Hymn: Walk on ahead, Good Shepherd

We sang this hymn after communion yesterday. I loved it.

Walk on ahead, Good Shepherd, I know your sweet voice true,
and even through the valley of death I’ll follow you!
Walk on ahead, Good Shepherd, I know you’ll lead me through,
for though I oft’ go straying, I know you’re ever true.

So draw me back, Good Shepherd, I need your rod and staff;
my stubborn selfish trends, Lord, they lead me off the path.
So draw me back, Good Shepherd, to paths of righteousness;
Bring me back to my Shepherd and Guardian of my soul.

Good Shepherd I have heard you – by name you call me out.
Guard me from thieves and robbers, and shield my heart from doubt
The way, the truth and life, yes! My Lord you are the gate
for those who enter in there salvation’s pastures wait.

Walk on ahead, Good Shepherd, lead me to pastures green.
For myriad other voices are not quite what they seem –
I will not trust the stranger whose voice I do not know.
That leads to death; destruction – no there I will not go!

So lead me now, Good Shepherd, and I will follow you.
I’ll live my life in fullness just as you call me to.
May your life and your light shine through me in such a way
that others too may know this: My Shepherd is the Way.
(Brenton Prigge © 2005 New Hymn CCLI # 4494858)

What Jesus Had to Say About Families

In Biblical Women Who Didn’t Submit: Abigail, I began looking at The Quiverfull Movement and some of the beliefs that far right, fundamentalist Christian groups have about women. The Quiverfull Movement has been in the press due to Kathryn Joyce’s new Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchal Movement. Since my first post, The American Prospect and GlobalComment have either done a review or an interview with Kathryn, and Religion Dispatches has posted a searing commentary on their view of children as taking culture back for God in God’s Little Soldiers: Procreation as a Weapon.

For the past week or so I’ve been having stray thoughts about what Jesus had to say about families wandering through my head. I wonder what people like the Quiverfull movement and others that idolatrize the nuclear family do with Jesus’ view of the biological family:

Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and one’s foes will be members of one’s own household. Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me (Matthew 10:34-37).

But to the one who had told him this, Jesus replied, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” And pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother” (Matthew 12:48-50).

To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” But Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:59-60).

Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple (Luke 14:26).

Jesus redefined family as those who do the will of God, even at the cost of the biological family. One’s family was no reason not to follow Jesus. If one’s family got in the way of following Jesus and doing the will of God, then the family was to be left behind. It is absolutely amazing how quickly biblical literalists say, “Oh but that’s not what Jesus really meant” when these verses come up (Everyone picks and chooses what to take literally in the Bible, whether they admit to it or not). If you think this is a radical and hard thing to swallow now, imagine what it would have been like to hear in the ancient world.

The paterfamilias was the social unit. And the paterfamilias is not the equivalent of today’s nuclear family with mommy, daddy, and kiddos. The paterfamilias was the patriarch, his wife or wives, all their children, and anyone who belonged to the household: parents, siblings, servants, and slaves. The patriarch could be your grandfather, father, uncle, or older brother, depending on who was still alive. A person did not exist outside of the paterfamilias in society in that day. You were defined by the family, and your social standing was also determined by your family and the family’s connections. When Jesus’ followers heard him say: “Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple,” they must have been picking themselves up off the ground. Outside of a woman leaving her family for her husband’s family, leaving the paterfamilias was absolutely unheard of. If you did, you were on your own, which meant, more than likely you would end up a social outcast. But the fact remains that Jesus said this.

He redefined family outside of biological relationships. When you became a Christian, your family became the Church. Your nuclear family came after that. Not that Jesus absolutely did away with the biological family either. His first miracle was at a wedding (probably a family wedding) at the request of his mother. He made sure his mother was taken care of before he died. But Jesus made it very clear that the most basic societal structure was not the family: it was his followers, the Church. The Church, those who obeyed the will of God, would be the basic social unit that changed the world. The Church would be the one to proclaim the gospel and show people how to live like Jesus in the world. Granted we haven’t always done a good job of it, but that is how Jesus redefined family.

If you’re a Christian, the biological family cannot be the foundation of society, and all evils do not come from the family breaking up. In fact, there have been times in Christian history where marriage and children were looked down on as second best, and both fathers and mothers abandoned their children to join monasteries for the higher good of chastity and prayer (but that’s another post).

Jesus and the New Testament writers make it clear that the family of God, the Church, is the foundation of society. It is also interesting to note that not many of the New Testament leaders are married or have children, or that children just aren’t mentioned. A good example is Priscilla and Aquila: they’re married, they make tents, they host churches in the homes, but do they have kids? We don’t know. Neither Jesus or Paul married and had children. Peter’s wife is mentioned, but did they have kids? Don’t know. The Bible doesn’t say whether Phoebe or Lydia, Timothy or Titus, were married or had children.

Yes, families are important. Yes, we should marry if we are called to do so and have children if called to do so. We should also remember there are people who aren’t called to marriage or parenthood. We just need to remember that it is not the nuclear family that changes the world. It is the Church’s testimony of Christ and living out the love of Jesus in our daily lives that brings the kingdom of God to earth. That should begin in our families, but it should not end there.

Why I joined The Episcopal Church

I should get back to regular blogging later this week. Holy Week was very busy, and I am getting back into my normal routine. Since I haven’t written much, I am going to give a little more link love to The Daily Episcopalian. In A Comprehensive Solution, Sam Candler nails why I decided to be confirmed into The Episcopal Church last year. Here’s a taste:

At its best, the Anglican tradition of Christianity resolves conflict gracefully. And it does so, rarely by taking “the middle way,” which has long been another name for the Episcopal Church (the “middle way” between Catholicism and Protestantism). I believe the Anglican tradition of Christianity often finds truth on both sides of theological and cultural disputes. The Anglican Communion of Churches finds “the comprehensive way,” affirming truth on both the traditional and the progressive wings of Christian community. The Anglican Communion of Churches might better be called the “via comprehensiva,” the comprehensive way.

I believe this “comprehensive way” was responsible for resolving other conflicts in Episcopal Church history, too. It explains how the early Protestant Church in the United States of America could be related to the Church of England but also separate from it. It was the comprehensive way that held the Episcopal Church together during the tragedy of the American Civil War. The comprehensive character of Anglicanism and the Episcopal Church also enabled us to meet the rise of science and higher literary criticism in the nineteenth century with grace and faith. We found a way to read the Bible with both faith and reason.

The Christian Church inevitably involves conflict. Usually, there are persons of good Christian faith on both sides of the conflict. The particular Anglican tradition of Christianity is a way of dealing with conflict gracefully. Obviously, our history has not always been clearly graceful. Nor is it always graceful right now. But the tradition which guides us is truly a graceful one.

From generation to generation, the Episcopal Church seeks to honor the universal claim of the Christian gospel while also honoring local authority and indigenous faith. That is another inherent challenge – and conflict—in all churches. How can we be obedient to both global and local authority? How can we honor both the gospel and our local culture? It is a journey and task entrusted to us by our Lord Jesus Christ himself.

Make sure you read the rest of the article. It has a great history of the beginning of The Church of England that’s worth the trip.