This afternoon, I received an email from a Twitter friend named Polly Hewitt. Attached was her elevator pitch that shows the depth of her longstanding, if not always perfect, love of The Episcopal Church.
This is a love story. I am a third-generation Episcopalian. My identity as a human being and a believer was shaped by the gracious exuberance of the ‘50s “Golden Age” church. I was confirmed in a lace doily and white gloves, proud to finally take my place at the Communion rail. Fifty years later, I still know every word of Morning Prayer, and cannot say the glorious General Confession without tearing up. In the ‘60s, I learned that the Episcopal Church was capable of taking bold stands on important social issues and stood side-by-side with my clergy at anti-war rallies. Later, as an adult, I also learned that my beloved church was far from perfect. I witnessed first-hand the “manifold sins and wickedness” of institutional power. I also experienced many moments of transcendent beauty and grace in the company of exceptional, thoughtful people. Now in middle age, I feel like I am in a long-term marriage with the Episcopal Church: wistful for our youthful days, companionable, sometimes cranky and a bit restless. Over the years, we’ve had our trial separations, but somehow, we always find our way back to each other. And here’s the best part – I know dozens of these Episcopal love stories. The details are different, but the core narrative is always the same. This imperfect institution – with its challenging liturgy, respect for reason, and commitment to social justice – was the perfect place to encounter God. For this, my heart is unfeignedly thankful.