During a recent sermon at Grace and St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, the Rev. Stephen Zimmerman invoked not the Bible or the Anglican Book of Common Prayer.
Zimmerman quoted the Rolling Stones.
“St. Paul the persecutor was a cruel and sinful man / ’till Jesus hit him with a blinding light, and then his life began,” said Zimmerman, who on Nov. 1 became priest-in-charge of Grace and St. Stephen’s downtown.
Zimmerman has also quoted lyrics by Bruce Springsteen and U2 during sermons, and his cell phone announces incoming calls by playing the Stones’ “Start Me Up.”
But make no mistake. Zimmerman, 60, is more than just a fan of classic rock. He’s thought deeply about the problems within the Episcopal Church, racked in recent years with internal division over the role of gays and women in the church.
For Zimmerman, the disagreements can be positive if people still realize they are united in Christ. “The gift of the Episcopal Church to the rest of Christendom can be that communion is larger than confession,” he said, meaning Christian community outweighs differences in theological interpretation.