This testimonial from Lisa Churchill (What is…. Class of 2010) is reprinted from Jan 2011
What is an Episcopalian? Now THAT’s a brave question. If you subscribe to St. Paul Cathedral’s mission statement, there are likely as many answers as there are Episcopalians! I learned through the unfolding of the 10-week-long course that I love this faith tradition… and it accepts and affirms ME. In the end it doesn’t matter who *I* am–baptised or not, single or coupled, whole or broken.
At some level back then, as a cradle Roman Catholic, I had the not-uncommon feeling that Episcopalians are “Catholic-lite.” How wrong I was. It’s the same Faith with the same background and the same catholic tradition (only more so lately, at least from a social-justice perspective). It was enlightening to learn about our part in the Anglican Communion, and that the Book of Common Prayer is a helpful tool in finding or creating a more fulfilling personal prayer life. The instructed Eucharist was not only educational (since we got to stop and ask questions whenever), but a lot of fun! This class raised nearly as many questions as it answered… in a great way. It prompted me to question not only my assumptions about faith, but how I could choose to live my faith out in my life.
It was fascinating learning about our Celtic roots, grounding us in the earth and to each other. Then there’s the three-legged stool of Scripture, Tradition, and Reason (wow, what a concept–I’m actively invited, nay presumed, to use my logical faculties at church!). I learned this faith meets me where I am, wherever that may be, offering acceptance and a helping hand. To quote/paraphrase Bp. Gene Robinson, “God loves you beyond your wildest imaginings…” What an incredible feeling! At Easter last year, I was received into The Church, accepted into the ebb and flow of the life of a people. To be part of a living, breathing thing that NEEDS you–and to be needed in that way–is a phenomenal thing.
The “What is an Episcopalian” class opened my eyes to possibilities I’d never imagined, or some I thought I’d lost (I get to serve at the altar–as a girl? COOL! :-). Yet I still feel strongly connected to my upbringing, maybe even more so because I feel I’m starting to DO something with my faith. And I feel strongly connected to this, my new family. Maybe it can do the same for you.