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Wed Dec 28, 2011, 05:53 PM

I'm getting ready to join the Episcopal Church

I was raised in a fundamentalist church (though by very liberal parents.) As a grew older I left the church altogether because their techings, especially about women. Then during a very terrible time in my life, I statrted reading the Bible - specifically th Gospel of Luke. It was then a wonderful revelation to me that many (in fact most) Chritian denominations are not born-again fundies. I have researched the Episcopal faith and am excited to be getting back to Church and without compromising my ability to reason and believe in science and equal rights for all.

God Bless you All

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Arrow 39 replies Author Time Post
Reply I'm getting ready to join the Episcopal Church (Original post)
arely staircase Dec 2011 OP
Lydia Leftcoast Dec 2011 #1
arely staircase Dec 2011 #3
markpkessinger Dec 2011 #2
arely staircase Dec 2011 #4
Lydia Leftcoast Dec 2011 #5
arely staircase Dec 2011 #6
Lydia Leftcoast Dec 2011 #7
markpkessinger Jan 2012 #14
Lydia Leftcoast Jan 2012 #15
regnaD kciN Feb 2012 #38
xmas74 Feb 2012 #39
ButterflyBlood Dec 2011 #8
arely staircase Dec 2011 #11
ButterflyBlood Jan 2012 #13
beachguy Dec 2011 #9
arely staircase Dec 2011 #10
beachguy Dec 2011 #12
sweetloukillbot Jan 2012 #16
Lydia Leftcoast Jan 2012 #17
ButterflyBlood Jan 2012 #19
sweetloukillbot Jan 2012 #25
ButterflyBlood Jan 2012 #18
sweetloukillbot Jan 2012 #24
xmas74 Feb 2012 #37
arely staircase Jan 2012 #20
ButterflyBlood Jan 2012 #21
arely staircase Jan 2012 #22
ButterflyBlood Jan 2012 #23
arely staircase Jan 2012 #30
sweetloukillbot Jan 2012 #26
ButterflyBlood Jan 2012 #28
sweetloukillbot Jan 2012 #29
sweetloukillbot Jan 2012 #27
arely staircase Jan 2012 #31
kwassa Jan 2012 #32
arely staircase Jan 2012 #33
Lydia Leftcoast Jan 2012 #34
kwassa Jan 2012 #35
47of74 Feb 2012 #36

Response to arely staircase (Original post)

Wed Dec 28, 2011, 09:22 PM

1. We'll be glad to have you



Once you join a parish, you'll find a lot of people who are refugees from more rigid denominations. There are so many Episcopalians who used to be something else (I used to be Lutheran, for example), that there's a term "cradle Episcopalian" to denote the minority who have been part of it all their lives.

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Response to Lydia Leftcoast (Reply #1)

Thu Dec 29, 2011, 11:01 AM

3. Thanks, I appreciate the welcome,

from what I have read, and been told, the Church gets refugees from both Protestant and Catholic directions - given its unique place as per that divide.

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Response to arely staircase (Original post)

Wed Dec 28, 2011, 11:11 PM

2. Welcome to the fold!

I was raised in a fairly conservative (albeit not fundamental) Presbyterian church, but had difficulty relating to it as I became an adult (and realized I was gay). I found my way to the Episcopal Church 17 years ago, at the age of 33, and have never regretted it. And in recent years, I have been especially proud of the fact that the American wing of the Anglican Communion has taken a firm stand against the bullying tactics taken by the Archbishop of Canterbury, acting under pressure from the much more conservative African bishops, over issues such as women in the episcopate and the ordination of LGBT folks.

For people who need certainty, who want a faith that will give them a black and white approach to all things in life, the Episcopal Church is likely to be very unsatisfying. But for many of us, it is a Godsend precisely because it doesn't provide those things!

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Response to markpkessinger (Reply #2)

Thu Dec 29, 2011, 11:11 AM

4. That's all encouraging, especally this part:

"For people who need certainty, who want a faith that will give them a black and white approach to all things in life, the Episcopal Church is likely to be very unsatisfying. But for many of us, it is a Godsend precisely because it doesn't provide those things!"

Thank you, it is the people filled with those certainties that kept me away from church for so many years.

And apparantly the Archbishop of the American church has PhD. in oceanography! An actual scientist!

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Response to arely staircase (Reply #4)

Thu Dec 29, 2011, 04:23 PM

5. She's actually called the Presiding Bishop--there are only two Archbishops, and they're both in

England, Canterbury and York.

I knew her casually when I lived in Oregon. Not only is she an oceanographer, but her husband is a mathematician. We're not afraid of brains.

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Response to Lydia Leftcoast (Reply #5)

Fri Dec 30, 2011, 04:29 PM

6. Thanks

Given my congregationalist upbringing it may take a while to learn my hierarchy

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Response to arely staircase (Reply #6)

Fri Dec 30, 2011, 06:42 PM

7. Yes, the Episcopalians have their own terminology for things

I call it "Episco-speak."

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Response to Lydia Leftcoast (Reply #5)

Fri Jan 6, 2012, 06:42 PM

14. This isn't quite the case . . .

. . . Desmond Tutu, former Anglican primate of South Africa, was also styled "Archbishop."

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Response to markpkessinger (Reply #14)

Fri Jan 6, 2012, 10:52 PM

15. Sorry, you're right

But there are no Episcopal archbishops in the U.S.

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Response to Lydia Leftcoast (Reply #15)

Thu Feb 23, 2012, 05:02 PM

38. True, because...

...at the time the U.S. church was set up as a separate entity from the Church of England, after the Revolutionary War, the title "archbishop" was thought as being too "English" and monarchical. Whereas most other branches of Anglicanism, similarly created, had had archbishops for decades/centuries within their own geographical regions, so it didn't seem so foreign to them.

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Response to regnaD kciN (Reply #38)

Sat Feb 25, 2012, 07:52 PM

39. Thanks for the history lesson!

I didn't know about the different titles.

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Response to arely staircase (Original post)

Sat Dec 31, 2011, 12:21 AM

8. Congratulations, glad you found somewhere that works

I too am a refuge from my childhood upbringing (Catholic). I'm not Episcopal, in fact if anything I go to pretty much the polar opposite of them style-wise (it's a liberal-leaning charismatic evangelical church, yes they exist), but I know how it feels when you find somewhere you fit after so long in something that doesn't. I plan on getting baptized in February so that'll be similar to your reception.

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Response to ButterflyBlood (Reply #8)

Sat Dec 31, 2011, 05:35 PM

11. "...a liberal-leaning charismatic evangelical church, yes they exist"

yep, not only do I believe you, I have seen it with my own eyes. I used to go to one from time to time with my (then) girlfriend. It was her church and the congregation was mostly local artists. That's back when I lived in Austin - where the counterintuitive is the norm.

Yeah, sounds like you and I were both looking for something more liberal but went in opposite directions in terms of high/low church, ceremony, etc. Congratulations on finding a church and the upcoming baptism (you'll be getting the full immersion, too I assume.)

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Response to arely staircase (Reply #11)

Mon Jan 2, 2012, 12:42 PM

13. Yep, getting dunked

I was baptized as a baby and confirmed Catholic but was never really sincere about or my confirmation. I quit considering myself a Catholic around age 15 or so though at 18 I started considering myself a Christian again but wasn't going to church and didn't see a need to reaffirm things. That kind of changed recently. I'm happy I can now take things for myself instead of just something I inherited from my parents.

This isn't my church but another local one, but the video at the bottom (Krysta's Baptism) summarizes me so well too. Me and her have very similar stories and backgrounds: http://urminneapolis.org/mediaVideo.php?year=2011

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Response to arely staircase (Original post)

Sat Dec 31, 2011, 01:26 PM

9. episcopalians

we have a vision statement in our episcopal church: "whoever you are, wherever you find yourself on your journey of faith, there is a place here for you!" however, not all episcopal churches are the same and are obviously contaminated by local culture and its political ethos. you will be disappointed at times and elated at other times but remember all denominations are human born and guided by the human spirit more often than the holy spirit, the american kingdom rather than god's realm. welcome to the episcopal church. now get busy converting yourself and your new parish - there is much to do.

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Response to beachguy (Reply #9)

Sat Dec 31, 2011, 05:24 PM

10. thank you

you are spot on about contamination by local culture - so being in a red red part of Texas, the church is pretty conservative - lot's of local country club type Republicans. But they aren't fundamentalists or evangelicals or otherwise end-timer nuts, which is what almost all of the other churches around here are. But in addition to the country club contingent we probably have the majority of church going liberals in this area (with the exception of one Presbyterian congregation.) I'm confortable taking my daughter to Sunday school, where she learns Biblical moral lessons about helping the poor - as opposed to "your lesbian sister is going to hell." But I also realize John McCain probably carried my local church. I get what you are saying.

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Response to arely staircase (Reply #10)

Sat Dec 31, 2011, 06:40 PM

12. your new church needs you

My daughter was raised in the Episcopal church. She is a compassionate and loving child (and college student) more interested in feeding the hungry and sheltering the homeless than "curing" the homosexuals or scaring off the so-called illegal immigrants (who happen to be hispanic in these parts). Episcopal Sunday School played an important part in her formation. She always had the intellectual "room" and "space" to doubt, be cynical, not believe and, yet, always believe that she was/is a priceless child of God. I am so happy you have found a place where there is room and a space to journey with others. Enjoy! May your New Year be filled with wonder and awe, fewer answers, probing questions, surprises galore.

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Response to arely staircase (Original post)

Mon Jan 9, 2012, 01:05 AM

16. I was raised Lutheran - my mother is even a Diaconal minister

Very liberal progressive church background but my wife and I have always loved high church liturgy and found contemporary services with rock bands to be annoying. And the Lutheran churches in my area have been moving in that direction for years. We started attending the local Episcopal Cathedral and immediately fell in love.
High church, sung liturgy, "bells and smells". I immediately fell in love with the preaching - the Dean is an astrophysicist and introduces interesting takes on science into his sermons. The other priest is a gay New Zealander by way of the Anglican church and he is almost the opposite - coming as close to denying the resurrection as you can within the church. He is also a trained psychologist and the best counselor I've ever met with - he helped me through some tough times when I was unemployed a couple years ago. And he summed up my problem with the Lutheran church perfectly "Too much happy-clappy."
The congregation is mostly cast-offs from other denominations - a lot of Catholics and Presbyterians and especially a lot of gays. The choir is phenomenal - many members are from the Phoenix Chorale - which has multiple Grammy awards - the church has an art gallery and sponsors local artists for first Friday artwalks. The community has a large 20-40 year-old contingency and an active Spanish community that apparently joined our church when Sheriff Joe started nosing around outside their old house of worship. We work heavily with the homeless in Phoenix, are active in immigrant rights issues in Phoenix and do a lot of work on the border as well.
I still miss some of the Lutheran things of my childhood - the hymns have different melodies and the Christmas carols have different verses (not to mention some hymn "Once in Royal David's City" that I'd never heard until Christmas 3 years ago when we joined) - but I can honestly say I've never felt more at home in a church than I do now - and I"ve never felt the urge to give more than I can to a church like I do now.

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Response to sweetloukillbot (Reply #16)

Mon Jan 9, 2012, 01:38 AM

17. "Too happy-clappy"--great Brit expression

I hadn't attended a Lutheran church since the 1980s when I went to my nephew's Lutheran confirmation about four years ago. They had a little rock combo in the corner, and the confirmation ceremony was real loose, almost like, "OK, guys, you're confirmed now." Well, not quite that bad, compared with my confirmation, when we had to memorize the Small Catechism, wear white robes, and kneel before the altar to receive a blessing and our own personal Bible verse, it was just too casual.

Evangelicals like to talk about how the Episcopalians are losing members, but having been around them on and off since 1973 and full time since 1991, I see it more as a result of their gay-friendly and single-friendly attitude. They're just going to have a lower birth rate than denominations that are all "family this" and "family that" and have only a youth group, a couples' club, and a seniors' group. But they receive converts like no one else does, people who are fed up with either the happy-clappy attitude of most mainstream Protestant churches or the rigidity and intolerance of the Catholic hierarchy or the megachurches.

Your church is probably typical in that the converts outnumber the "cradle Episcopalians." I don't know of any other denomination that has a special term for people who have actually been members all their lives as opposed to converting in adulthood. It's sort of like being a "native Oregonian."

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Response to Lydia Leftcoast (Reply #17)

Mon Jan 9, 2012, 01:55 PM

19. That might be true, but pretty close to all people at my current church are converts

The pastor even kind of addressed this yesterday in the sermon dealing with the first chapter of Mark mentioning the baptism and Jesus and then a brief mentioning of the church doing baptisms in February. It basically went like "So I know here in Minnesota there's tons of people raised Catholic and Lutheran and if you were you were likely baptized as a baby. So you might ask if that's OK and if you should be baptized again, well my policy on argument is basically just "don't have them", so I'll say if you were baptized as a baby and are OK with that, fine. But if you do want to be rebaptized, we'll definitely be willing to do so and if you want a reason why, here's my very theological one: Baptism is awesome."

That bit about your confirmation by the way sounds weird to me, way different from mine or my cousin's I was at a few months ago. I have to say I much prefer the modern day style though without creepy white robes. Still far less casual than the baptism style we'll be having in February which will be a bunch of people in T-shirts and ripped jeans getting dunked in water while everyone cheers.

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Response to Lydia Leftcoast (Reply #17)

Tue Jan 10, 2012, 04:50 AM

25. We've got a chunk of cradle Episcopalians

But they are certainly outnumbered nowadays. The Cathedral's growth has exploded over the past 5-6 years, but it was those cradle Episcopalians who kept the congregation going when blight just about destroyed the downtown area around the church in the 70s, 80s and 90s. They're the ones who decided to rebuild the cathedral when the sanctuary burned down 10 years ago - and they've been incredibly welcoming to the diverse community that has found the church in recent years. And perhaps cooler than anything - they had Duke Ellington conduct a mass at the Cathedral back in the late '60s.
Heck, when my wife and I went through our "Episcopal 101" orientation class before joining, a couple of cradle Episcopalians took the class as well, just to make sure all of the potential new members felt welcomed.

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Response to sweetloukillbot (Reply #16)

Mon Jan 9, 2012, 01:44 PM

18. Ha ha, if you can't stand the contemporary Lutheran services I know you won't like my church ;)

There are times when the only way to tell it's a church service and not a show in some club is all the chairs and the words on the screens. You got people not just raising their hands but swaying around and sometimes even pogo dancing and jumping. And of course mostly dressed like they're going to a club or coffeeshop, including the pastors.

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Response to ButterflyBlood (Reply #18)

Tue Jan 10, 2012, 04:21 AM

24. There's a place for that...

Theologically I find a lot to agree with in the Emergent movement and that certainly sounds like what you're describing. I saw Rob Bell speak last year and he was incredibly inspiring. I just find it doesn't feel like church without the ceremony and structure. But I know some people would rather just worship without the confines of a structured liturgy.

Have you seen the reality series that IFC or Sundance (don't remember which) did on Jay Bakker? Really interesting show about him breaking from his father's traditions and founding a queer-friendly Emergent church at a coffee house in DC I think. It also tied in around Tammy Faye's death and presented her in a different light as well.

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Response to sweetloukillbot (Reply #24)

Mon Feb 20, 2012, 08:49 PM

37. I missed that show

but I've heard that Jay Bakker is actually a very warm, friendly man who welcomes all who are interested in learning. They say he takes more after his mother.

I'm going to look around for it.

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Response to sweetloukillbot (Reply #16)

Mon Jan 9, 2012, 05:33 PM

20. That sounds like a really cool church.

I fell in love with the "smells and bells" too. I had been to Episcopal services before but really came to love it whle attending a service in Barbadoes. The choir was outstanding - and I believe they sang the liturgy as well. We are also in agreement about "contemporary services" and rock bands (although crappy pop bands is usually more like it.) Our local congregation isn't so high church, so I don't get the full-on high Episcopal ceremony and the politics of the congregation is pretty much country club Republican, with the rest of the congregation being to the left of that.

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Response to arely staircase (Reply #20)

Mon Jan 9, 2012, 06:49 PM

21. That's not true about all contemporary service music, though perhaps most

My church's music is largely post-rock and indie rock influenced type stuff. They've played hymns in the vein of Pavement. I know most of the worship band people like good music, I even saw one of them at Explosions in the Sky when they played here.

I'll admit by the way I like some Hillsong songs (especially "Mighty to Save") though of course a good chunk of it is also pretty awful. My church's band often covers them, and in a much better style.

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Response to ButterflyBlood (Reply #21)

Mon Jan 9, 2012, 07:02 PM

22. i thought about that after i posted - i'm sure there is everything under the sun

i apologize

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Response to arely staircase (Reply #22)

Mon Jan 9, 2012, 07:21 PM

23. Hey no problem

I'm not denying what you said is mostly true, I'm thinking of the music you hear on televangelist programs, if they want to frighten you with hell, they could just say that hell would be like having to listen to that for eternity!

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Response to ButterflyBlood (Reply #23)

Tue Jan 10, 2012, 08:27 PM

30. actually, i still very much like to listen to a jimmy swaggart "show"

the theology is disagreeable (downright hateful) but, he throws down on the piano and usually has a great back-up band. he is, after all, jerry lee lewis' first cousin (mickey gilley's too, but that seems less noteworthy.)

though i would take great political issue with swaggart's position on many issues and theological issue as to how he reads scripture, i would never criticize his, or anyone's, style of worship. i believe we are all called to walk diferrent paths. Otherwise, what would be the point?

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Response to ButterflyBlood (Reply #21)

Tue Jan 10, 2012, 04:53 AM

26. A lot of my aversion to praise bands comes from my previous church's pastor.

He led the worship band and would always crank his Strat up to 11 which got obnoxious. He also did these strange free-form sermons/powerpoint presentations that would jump from Jesus to Superman and back. The last straw was a Christmas eve service where we sang silent night at ear-splitting volume accompanied by a powerpoint slideshow was pictures of car crashes, flood victims and Saddam Hussein. The sermon that day was about a bunny that went around doing nice things to all the forest creatures then froze to death.
That's when I knew I needed to find a new church - and then when the ELCA changed the hymnal my wife knew it was time to go as well.

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Response to sweetloukillbot (Reply #26)

Tue Jan 10, 2012, 12:02 PM

28. So apparentely even pastors do LSD!

I actually think I'd like that guy for the novelty value at least for awhile.

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Response to ButterflyBlood (Reply #28)

Tue Jan 10, 2012, 02:55 PM

29. He was actually a really good preacher for quite a while...

He had a heart attack and after his recovery is when he got weird. He got real narcissistic and developed an attitude that the congregation would follow him wherever. He also turned into a diva - wouldn't do this, wouldn't do that. My mom did all the ministry to the homebound, then when they passed away and the families asked for her to officiate, he'd get offended because "I do the funerals here!" He also had a strong anti-Catholic bent that went a little too far towards bigotry.
Was really a bit of an a-hole... But when he toned it down he was quite good and I have to say that for the most part I agreed with him theologically.

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Response to arely staircase (Reply #20)

Tue Jan 10, 2012, 05:02 AM

27. Speaking of Country Club Republicans at liberal churches

Barry Goldwater was a member of my church. And Chief Justice Rehnquist (and Sandra Day O'Connor - I think) went to the Lutheran church I attended. Apparently they wanted to do Rehnquist's memorial at the church but the fiery and weird pastor mentioned downthread refused.

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Response to sweetloukillbot (Reply #27)

Tue Jan 10, 2012, 08:37 PM

31. this is another subject, but i must say the gop gets more fanatical with each generation

i say that only to say this - when i describe the e church to liberal friends i often say this "think George H.W. Bush, not George W." Not that I'm in agreement with the former on hardly anything, but people get it. i guess the likes of h.w. bush would be the far right of my church, whereas h.w. would be way too liberal to win a gop primary today.

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Response to arely staircase (Reply #31)

Fri Jan 13, 2012, 07:10 PM

32. George H. W. is an Episcopalian.

though I don't know how observant he is.

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Response to kwassa (Reply #32)

Sat Jan 14, 2012, 10:10 AM

33. i know. that is what i was saying, though not well - as i reread my post

yeah, hw would pretty much represent the right-wing of the episcopal church.

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Response to arely staircase (Reply #33)

Sat Jan 14, 2012, 12:33 PM

34. He used to prefer the Roman Catholic bishop of Washington DC to

the Episcopal bishop, because he thought the Episcopal bishop was too liberal.

I don't know what he'd think now that Washington DC has a woman bishop.

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Response to Lydia Leftcoast (Reply #34)

Sun Jan 15, 2012, 11:40 PM

35. DC has had a long line of very liberal Episcopal bishops.

The last one performed a same-sex marriage ceremony of the assistant rector of my church and her partner at National Cathedral.

John Bryson Chane, who just retired.

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Response to arely staircase (Original post)

Mon Feb 20, 2012, 06:46 PM

36. I went to my first Episcopal service yesterday

I've been struggling with whether or not I want to continue with the Catholic church. The Catholic parish I'm part of is so wonderful, a wonderful staff, and a great community. If it hadn't been for them I probably would have left the church a long time ago. But with all the anti-women stupidity coming out of church leadership and the right lately I don't know if I can continue or not.

So yesterday I went to my first Episcopal service to see what that would be like. There's things I like - especially saying "and also with you" instead of that "with your spirit," having a woman lead the assembly in prayer, and how all the baptized were invited to communion. It was a little less formal than what I'm used to but I could probably get used to that.

I don't know what I'll do, I just want to take my time and see what happens. But now I know if I do have to leave the Catholic church I have another home I can go to.

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