Today is my last day as Friday newshound for the Episcopal Café. About a decade ago, I was invited to be one of the “newshounds” for this new web-based Episcopal magazine called “Episcopal Café.” The Café was meant to be a tool of evangelism—to tell the story of Jesus and to share the Gospel through the particular lens of the Episcopal Church—and an aggregator of news about things Episcopal and Anglican. We tell the story of the Episcopal Church as well as our Anglican brothers and sisters around the globe. And we tell the story from what many call a “progressive” perspective. We talk about the ministries of women, GLBTQ Christians, people of color, of the laity as well as the ordained. We write about racial justice and reconciliation. We report on the work of Christians who serve the outcast and the marginalized. We also report and interpret the Gospel ministry of inviting all people into the fullness of life in Christ.
For me, the Episcopal Café was like being on the local or college newspaper. It is great fun putting together a days’ worth of stories, usually three to five on any given Friday, depending on what the Friday “newsdump” might produce, and in working with the rest of the team in getting that done. But we are publishing more than news, we tell a story.
My most favorite story was a two-part piece about health care called “Who Paid for Polly?” But I think that I became the unofficial editor of the April Fools’ Desk after I wrote a report that the Episcopal Church had been named the Official Church of Major League Baseball. Poking fun at ourselves seems to me as important as going deep into hard things that we confront in Gospel ministry.
When I started the Café, it was during the last flare-up of the so-called “Episcopal wars.” Before many of those folks went off to start their own new denomination, the (so-called) conservative side had a real head start in terms of using the internet to tell their story. Oddly, the so-called progressives were still sticking with print media and the costs were putting a lot of voices out of business. It was into this breach that Jim Naughton, Ann Fontaine, Nick Knisely, Chuck Blanchard, John Chilton, Helen Heath Thompson Mosher, and I started putting together the Café. I was surprised to have been invited to join this crew. It has been, and remains, an interesting team effort. Jim was clearly our leader and guide (as Jon White is now) but we quickly became a team. The fascinating part was that most of us never met “IRL”. The first time I ever met Jim in person was at a special diocesan convention in Bethlehem when we elected our bishop provisional. I was sitting in the front, chairing the meeting, and I saw that Jim was there…way in the back of the Cathedral covering the story.
Still, the responsibility to do a good job for our readers, to “get it right”, and to go about our work ethically is something I value most about our work together. I am very grateful to Jon White, who has taken the reigns, for continuing what the Café does with integrity and energy.
After ten years of this ministry, I have decided to make a change. I still plan to keep an eye on things Episcopal and Anglican and to periodically write about it in the Café, but not as the weekly Friday newshound. I am so very grateful for this extraordinary opportunity and I look forward to pouring my cup of tea, opening up the Café, and sitting with you as we discover what new is unfolding in the Episcopal Church that we love.