From the Worldwide Faith News archives

ACNS3553 The Episcopal Church is thriving in joyful Christian

From "Anglican Communion News Service" <>
Date Thu, 14 Aug 2003 23:37:11 +0100

ACNS 3553     |     USA     |	  14 AUGUST 2003 

The Episcopal Church is thriving in joyful Christian ministry: Statement
from the Episcopal Diocese of West Tennessee

[ACNS source: Episcopal Diocese of West Tennessee] We, the clergy and
wardens of the following Episcopal Churches, along with our bishop, are
happy to report the ongoing strength and vitality of our parish churches
and ministries. We are proud to be a part of the Episcopal Church in the
United States of America, and we give thanks to God for our abundant
blessings, especially for the palpable sense of God's presence among us
now and the promising future to which God is calling us. 

We recognize that emotionally laden issues are often surrounded by
misunderstanding, and we offer the following reflections of
clarification as signs of our unequivocal love and support of the
Episcopal Church. 

We acknowledge a variety of differences among faithful Episcopalians,
and we are grateful to be members of a church that not only welcomes but
joyfully accommodates such a wide spectrum of perspectives and opinions.
Most recently, our differences of opinion on matters of human sexuality
have been aired in the secular media, and we are pleased that the media
has noticed the civility and charity that prevailed in our
deliberations. Along with the Wall Street Journal, the Boston Globe, the
Dallas Morning News, the Commercial Appeal, and others, we too hope that
our church's way of handling such an emotionally volatile issue can
become a model for the difficult debates that go on in the larger

We affirm the Holy Scripture of the Old and New Testaments as the Word
of God, and we recognize that our different opinions on difficult social
issues often stem not from varying degrees of reverence for the Bible
but from varying ways of interpreting the Bible. We recognize that some
Christian denominations, on the basis of their interpretations of the
Bible, do not allow women to be ordained or to hold certain positions of
leadership in their churches. The Episcopal Church interprets the Bible
differently and benefits from women serving in all levels of church
leadership, lay and ordained. 

We recognize with sadness that, in former days, some have supported the
institution of slavery by quoting certain passages of the Bible out of
context. We affirm the Episcopal Church's prayerful discussions of the
complete witness of Scriptures, together with holy tradition and our
God-given reason. This traditional, Anglican approach does not always
yield unanimity, but we hope our approach contributes constructively to
the important ongoing task of interpreting the ways of God to human

We, along with Episcopal churches across the United States, are engaged
in and strongly committed to a wide variety of ministries. While we
pledge ourselves to meaningful study and dialogue about many issues
facing the world today, including issues of human sexuality, such study
and dialogue certainly will not dominate our life as a church. Following
the example of Jesus and inspired by the Holy Spirit, we are continuing
our tradition of addressing a variety of concerns, including
homelessness, hunger, poverty, education, racism, violence, and the
stigma of mental illness, to name just a few. And while we are actively
engaged in social ministries that we hope express the love of God for
the world, we continue to worship in the beauty of the Anglican
tradition, in spirit and in truth. 

Our churches are strong, vibrant, and alive in the Holy Spirit. No
church is perfect, but we want all people to know what we so deeply and
joyfully feel, that God is at work in wonderful ways in the Episcopal
Church in the United States of America and that those concerns that
occasionally divide us are secondary to the deeper fundamentals that
unite us. Chief among those fundamentals, we believe, is the Truth
revealed to us in the incarnation and resurrection of Jesus Christ - the
unconditional love of God for all people and God's desire to draw all
people to God's self. 

Wherever you might be in your spiritual pilgrimage, the Episcopal Church
welcomes you. May the peace of the Lord be always with you. 

The Rt Revd Don E Johnson, Bishop of West Tennessee 
Mr Charles Crump, Chancellor of the Diocese of West Tennessee and lay
deputy to General Convention 
Mr Theodore B Tim Sloan, lay deputy to General Convention 

The Revd Dr P Donald White, Jr 
The Revd Susan K Crawford 
The Revd George M Klee 
Mr Gus Wadlington, Senior Warden 
St George's Church 

The Revd Dr Robert H Hansel 
The Revd Canon Renee Miller 
The Revd Canon William Kolb 
The Revd Lewis McKee 
The Revd Dr Robert Watson 
The Revd James R Boyd 
The Revd Mimsy Jones 
The Revd George S Yandell 
Mr Tommy Parker, Senior Warden 
Ms Lee Duncan, Junior Warden 
Calvary Episcopal Church 

The Revd John H Moloney 
The Revd Joe T Porter 
The Revd Carol Gardner 
The Revd Amy Jobes 
The Revd Lee Kneipp 
Mr Rob Norcross, Junior Warden 
Mr Dan Conaway, Senior Warden (2002) 
Anna Robbins, Senior Warden (2001) 
Grace-St Luke's Episcopal Church 

The Very Revd CB Baker, 
The Revd Canon Reynolds Cheney III 
The Revd Katherine Bush 
Mr Wilson Carruthers, Bishop's Warden 
Mr Rowlett Scott, Chapter's Warden 
St Mary's Cathedral 

The Revd Gary D Jones 
The Revd Tom Momberg 
The Revd Blair Both 
The Revd Dr Jerry L Harber 
Mr Ben Adams, Senior Warden 
Mrs Maryanne Macdonald, Junior Warden 
Church of the Holy Communion 

The Revd Dr Ira Johnson 
Emmanuel Episcopal Church 

The Revd William W Ryan 
Dr James Gholson, Senior Warden 
Holy Trinity Episcopal Church 

The Revd Barkley Thompson 
Church of the Holy Apostles 

The Revd Jack Rogers 
Ms Jane O King, Senior Warden 
Mr Jamey E Bowers, Junior Warden 
St Mary's Church, Dyersburg 

The Revd Donald E Brooks 
Immanuel Church, Ripley 

The Revd Edgar E Ince 
Mrs Harriett Thompson, Senior Warden 
St James Episcopal Church, Bolivar 

The Revd Sid Carsten 
Ravenscroft Chapel, Brighton; St Paul's Episcopal Church, Mason; Trinity

Episcopal Church, Mason 

Non-parochial clergy 
The Revd William H Kelly 
The Revd Brent Powell 
The Revd Senter C Crook 
The Revd Noble R Walk

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