More news on the “Episcopalian/Anglican schism” front: a local church held its final service as an Episcopalian congregation Sunday, and after the service they walked their cross, altar, and vestments down the street to a new facility, to reopen as an Anglican parish under the authority of the Church of Uganda. It was splashed all over the Sun-Times, and the images included lots of children waving banners, and young men bearing an altar cross with a very large crown of thorns.
The thing is, this particular church has apparently been split before, as there are TWO churches named “Resurrection” in the area, one that split more than 10 years ago over the issue of homosexuality. The other (original?) one is under the authority of the Church of Rwanda. The later one seems to be the “remnant” that was left in 1994 after the first split.
It’s all very confusing. Part of the reason there’s so much ferment there is it’s in the area of Wheaton College, a source of young evangelical college students interested in the “emerging church” or “new liturgy” thread of evangelicalism.
The front-page picture from the Sun-Times article today is here. One commenter at The Chicagoist noted with surprise that “these were the people protesting gay rights.” I also had a moment of “What? isn’t this church leaving because they don’t agree with the rest of us on gay clergy and bishops? But these guys look…kinda…yeah.”
The website for Resurrection Anglican doesn’t have a history, although their pastor’s bio page will suffice. He’s been there since 1994.
The older “Rez” left the Episcopal Church way back in 1993, and now call themselves simply “The Church of the Resurrection.” A great deal of their ministry at the time seemed to be centered on “healing…the sexually wounded and struggling.” I suppose this means they claim to help gay people become straight… whether ministry or therapy, the concept is controversial and not necessarily helpful.
They will shortly be hosting the appearance of Archbishop Peter Akinola on September 27th. I wonder if the folks from the newer Resurrection Anglican will drop by? And what was the result of the “second significant split?” I don’t know.
By October 1990, the church finally reached a size that could become a self-sustaining parish. The very same month that Church of the Resurrection moved from mission status to became a parish, it also began celebrating its main service at the West Chicago High School auditorium. This then-radical step launched the church into a new era of expanded worship and an outreach. Families from across the Chicago region made it their church home. The church began taking in new parishioners that in many cases had come from across the country to be part of a place that sought to offering healing, especially for the sexually wounded and struggling.This special calling became the presenting issue that altered Church of the Resurrection’s denominational affiliation with the Episcopal Church in the U.S.A. For Church of the Resurrection, a church that offered, among other ministries, specific help and healing for people involved in homosexuality, the denomination’s more liberal stance seemed to us a contradiction of Scripture and a denial of the work of the Holy Spirit in this church. Eventually it became clear that communion was shattered, and the Vestry voted to disassociate from the Diocese, effective November 30, 1993.
The church incorporated itself as the Church of the Resurrection of Illinois, and continued meeting at Edman Chapel on the campus of Wheaton College, which had already become our primary sanctuary of praise. To this day, the Lord has continued to have us in “temporary” facilities as we have focused on our mission and ministry and sought his leading.
The church grew rapidly following our disassociation. But without a bishop to help us navigate these years, the Church of the Resurrection experienced significant growing pains and struggles in the late 1990s, including two significant church splits. Though the church has experienced reconciliation with those who have left, this period taught us to listen more patiently and humbly to the Lord in the midst of crisis, and to sharpen our focus and calling.
They’re now part of a cluster of AMiA congregations centered on Wheaton. Which seems to be the place to be if you’re an evangelical in Anglican vestments, I guess.