In The Times, Lucy Broadbent writes that the Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Los Angeles did for her what the Church of England never could:
St James Church, which sits at the intersection of an affluent middle-class neighbourhood, and many poorer communities in LA, is an Episcopal Church, that is the American equivalent of the Church of England. But, unlike its British cousins, it is packed because it goes out of its way to create a community in a big, sprawling city. There’s a supper club on Wednesday nights, set up with the intention of giving mums a night off, and a chance for families to make friends.
There is also an elementary school, a nursery school and a reasonably priced child-care centre for working families. Then there’s the aerobics classes in the church hall — always popular; boy scout meetings — my son won’t miss one; and a soup kitchen for the homeless. Sometimes, if you are trying to raise a family, it’s hard to stay away from the place.
When I moved to LA a dozen or so years ago, religion was incidental to my life. Unless on a turbulent aircraft, indifference beckoned. There were a few childhood memories of Sunday school and sitting in a pew with a children’s Bible. But religion had slipped into cobwebbed disuse as soon as the teen years took over. Spirituality? Well, I listened to reggae music at parties. If I’d stayed in Britain, I’d probably have become another of the lost Christians.
I am now largely embarrassed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, who took it upon himself to advise the bishops of the diocese of LA against electing the Rev Canon Mary D. Glasspool to be a bishop, because she happens to be openly gay.