Monday, July 19, 2010

Churches keeping the faith a year into their divide

From Modesto-

It's been a year since more than 90 percent of St. Paul's congregation walked away from its $2.3 million property in northeast Modesto to begin Wellspring Anglican Church downtown. The move forestalled a lawsuit by Episcopal Bishop Jerry Lamb to claim the property in the ongoing national dispute between the theologically liberal Episcopal Church and the conservative Anglicans.

Members and leaders of each congregation said they are happy -- Wellspring with its stable congregation and ministries, despite not owning a physical structure, and the small but slowly growing congregation at St. Paul's.

Recent visits to both churches found the congregations using the identical liturgy, from prayers to reponses, and even the same order of worship.

The differences are in the numbers -- about 30 adults attended the main service at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, while nearly five times that number gathered at Wellsping -- and in the Scriptural passages and sermons.

The Episcopal Church has added more biblical passages about women to its readings, and on June 13 at St. Paul's, that included an excerpt from

I Kings 21 that detailed the ruthlessness of Jezebel and her God-forsaking husband, Israel's King Ahab, as well as a passage from Luke 7 about a woman who annointed Jesus' feet with her tears and expensive ointment. A third passage was from Galatians.

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