Sunday, August 31, 2008

FAQ #7 Druids in the Episcopal Church

Q. I've heard that there are practicing Druids in the Episcopal Church. Is this true ? It's referenced on the Diocese of Pittsburgh's FAQ (#10).

A. This was a man bites dog story.

Four years ago there was an isolated instance in the Diocese of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia). A husband and wife, both ordained, were experimenting with, and involved in, druid practices. The Rev. Glyn Lorraine Ruppe Melnyk managed to get a liturgy she had written up on the Women's Ministry web site managed by the Episcopal Church Center. When it was discovered, it was immediately pulled from the web site. Bishop Bennison (hardly a conservative ally) investigated the charges which resulted in both of those involved recanting of their involvement in such liturgies and resigning from any further participation in such.

The Rev. William Melnyk's letter read in part

"I was wrong. I repent of and recant without qualification anything and everything I may have said or done which is found to be in conflict with the Baptismal Covenant, and the historical Creeds of the Church.

With God as my witness, I reaffirm my belief in the historical creeds of the Church, and the Baptismal Covenant, and reaffirm to you my faith, as expressed in that covenant. I am resigning my membership in the
Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids, as a sign of my repentance."

The letter in full can be found at David Virtue's web site. You have to scroll down quite a ways but its there. (#5 under "Topics of the Day")

You can see all of the Frequently Asked Questions by typing FAQ into the blog's search engine.


Anonymous said...

The simple answer to this question would have been "Yes", for an unknown number of years two Episcopal priests were also practicing Druids. And for the record William Melnyk (aka Oakwyse) has the following bio currently listed on the website of The Druid Network:

OakWyse is a Druid Priest who also has 25 years experience as a clergyman in the Episcopal (Anglican) Church, USA. He has experience in designing and conducting Druid, Wiccan and Christian rites of passage, and eclectic rituals. He lives in Southeastern Pennsylvania, near Philadelphia. He is able to perform legal weddings/handfastings in the U.S. and currently has a flexible schedule. He is able to travel, if required. He is a member of The Druid Network, Order of the Yew, and a Druid member of OBOD.

While he did resign from ministry in TEC his truthfulness and/or sincerity in this "recantation" remains doubtful, to be generous.

His wife, who actually wrote the liturgy, is still rector of St. Francis in Malvern. She is currently on sabbatical, traveling with her husband to his book signings- a book he co-authored with the current head of The Druid Network. Before the big blowup she was leading "rituals" at Stonehenge. One hopes her "recantation" is of a different nature than that of her husband.

Again, are we being told that two Druid priests was no big deal, not to be mentioned? As long is it wasn't "official" theology it could be safely ignored? Should we be unhappy that conservative "realigners" brought this syncretism to light and forced Bishop Bennison's hand?

Robert Christian said...

As I said in another post here, does this make all priest druids?
It's like saying because one teacher tries to solicit sex from a minor that all teachers are do/will do the same. I heard this argument from my former rector. She is an Episcopal Priest and a follower of Bishop Duncan's movt. for realignment. In the past years since returning to TEC I've visited many parishes, in this diocese and on my travels, and I have to say I haven't attended a Druid, Wiccan or Muslim service in any of those churches (some in the liberal diocese' of Washington, Pennsylvania, and the moderate/conservative diocese of Virginia).

This is one among many priest who just went in the Druid direction.
It's like saying "you have a bad tooth so I'm going to pull all your teeth." ughhh!

Jim Simons said...

McCallester: Very happy that it was brought to light and corrected, if imperfectly. Thanks for the additional information.

Jim Simons said...

Thanks Robert: Great anaolgy.

Anonymous said...

does this make all priest druids?

Of course not. No one has suggested this would be the case. But some believe that this speaks to the larger theological culture of TEC. These two Episcopal priests saw no conflict between practicing paganism and Christianity at the same time. They viewed it as simply another step in radical inclusion. Bill's parish was well steeped in this theology and was quite upset he was forced out. One can certainly argue that they are on the extreme end of the Bell curve but in TEC the curve keeps shifting further and further away from "Prayer Book" theology. But, since nothing "official" has been done, we can safely ignore the rampant theological wanderings of TEC...