Saturday, March 3, 2012

You Can Go Home Again

By the end of next month, the breakaway parishioners at the historic Falls Church Episcopal Church in my home town will have to vacate the valuable structures belonging to the Episcopal Church that this rump congregation has been occupying for years and turn the venerable sanctuary back over to the Episcopalians they turned out of the premises in 2006. These squatting "Anglicans," homophobes and misogynists (in my opinion), will be required to fend for themselves, just like they forced the local "continuing Episcopalians" to do for years when the worshippers found sanctuary in the loft of the Presbyterian Church down the street in which to conduct services.

I had long ago stopped going to the Falls Church after listening to some of the disturbing sermons of the charismatic rector, John Yates. This mesmerizing man who led the defection of many of the parishioners from the Episcopal Church preached male dominance, anti-gay bias and pious family-value elitism under the guise of the true, nay, the only, word.

The ordination of an openly-gay bishop in New Hampshire by the Episcopalians this century was something the priest just couldn't get past so he and his enfatuated followers engineered a takeover of the church property in 2006 and aligned themselves with a rogue Nigerian bishop who advocated long prison terms for homosexuals and, for all I know, suitable harsh biblical punishments for other "sinners."

The town Episcopalians however persevered for years in cramped loft space within a sympathetic Protestant church, teaching tolerance, forgiveness and inclusion in a true Christian fashion, and I rejoined the fold as their services now aligned with what I believe in, having learned the compassionate way as a boy at the loving services I attended at St. Paul's Episcopal Church on Staten Island. The courts having finally handed us our property back, worth many millions of dollars (no wonder the defectors tried to take it when they left the church), we are going home again next month.

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