Don’t look now Rowan, but your people love it in LA

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.

Bonus paragraph:

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.

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  1. I was once a two year vestry member. I was also asked to be ¨social chair¨…this was in a rural part of Idaho and we initiated Monthly dinners…what a hit, what a opportunity for fun, friendship and fellowship to emerge…what a great opportunity to invite a friend (over and over again sometimes as our evening were a smash hit even with the Romans down the block we started acting like REAL friends and neighbors after a 100+years. I loved this story, reading the link I discovered some disparaging CoE commenters…what they need is a fun evening out (makes me wonder if they know about fun and fellowship).

  2. I suspect that many if not most of The Lead’s readers also check in at least occasionally with Thinking Anglicans, where Simon Sarmiento provides a comprehensive survey of Communion news — but, understandably, with special emphasis on the Church of England. Lately it has been quite clear that our Holy Mother is in quite a mess. Not to say that we her Wayward Daughter don’t have plenty of messes of our own. But it suggests that +Rowan should worry less about our business and take more care of his own. (He should even re-read his own books. They are very good and might provide valuable guidance.) I also recommend Savitri Hensman’s article in the Guardian,, together with Lucy Broadbent’s Times article and Ruth Gledhill’s comments. H/t to the Mad Priest. Leonardo: Judging from the comments on church-related articles in the English secular online press, the whole nation desperately needs a fun evening out!

  3. David Allen |dah • veed|

    Bill, for many of us, TEC and her offspring, such as my church the ACoM, the argument can be made that the CoE is not our mother, but an old auntie. SEC is our mother, she who gave us our Apostolic Succession.

  4. You have a point, Dah-veed — we did receive the episcopate initially from the SEC, along with the significant liturgical influence of the Scottish Communion Office for our Book of Common Prayer. Still, the original parishes of the Protestant Episcopal Church had before the American Revolution been congregations of the Church of England. (Not that Mother/Auntie cared very much about them. Except for a few like Thomas Bray.)

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