Canon Scott Hayashi, to be consecrated the 11th bishop of Utah today, warned Episcopalians in the region to be careful not to fall into the trap of allowing themselves to be defined by who they are not.
"The first time the Rev. Scott Hayashi served Utah’s Episcopal Church, he was puzzled by some parishioners’ tendency to define themselves by what they weren’t: Mormons.
He even remembers pointing out the silliness in a sermon at Ogden’s Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd, where he was rector from 1989 to 1998.
‘I asked, ‘Does this mean if the LDS people are against gambling, we should be for it? If the LDS people have the Mormon diet and believe whole grains, moderation in eating and getting exercise is what you should do, that means we should eat all high-fat foods and not exercise? If the LDS people are against smoking, that means we should all be smoking like chimneys? Does this make any sense?’ ’
The next bishop for Utah’s 5,200 Episcopalians now frames the question this way: ‘Shouldn’t we have an identity that is formed on the positive, as opposed to being against something?’"
The new bishop makes a very good point, but he doesn't, in the article above at least, answer his own question. What does define the Episcopal Church. What do we positively stand for in our denomination?
(If you'd like more details about the service taking place in Salt Lake City this morning, you can read about them here. There's a lovely invitation to the community to pop into the event if they'd like.)