Monday, October 11, 2010

Bishop of North Dakota states the challenges and opportunities of Anglican ministry on the Northern Plains

Bishop Smith's Blog: House of Bishops Presentation

"...We built churches in anticipation of their arrival, especially for the Lutherans who we expected would become Episcopalians, but to our dismay brought their pastors with them. (As a result we have contributed a number of quaint stone churches for service as county museums throughout the state.)

And in almost every small town in North Dakota are one Roman Catholic church and several brands of Lutherans. (I have toyed with the idea of a church growth campaign with the motto: “When Lutherans marry Roman Catholics they are really Episcopalians,” but ecumenical sensitivity inhibits me.)

More recently, tribes from the Sudan have joined us. One of our largest churches is a Sudanese congregation which has three services on Sunday: one in English, one in Dinka, and one in Arabic.

Demographically, North Dakota is a very white state with over 90% of the population comprised of European Americans. In contrast, however, the Episcopal Diocese of North Dakota is much more racially diverse, as evidenced by the fact the over one-quarter of our clergy are people of color, including Native, African and Sudanese Americans. This provides us with inroads into those communities that other denominations simply do not have. (We also enjoy an almost even 50/50 split between male and female clergy.)

We are being called, I believe, to grow in our own sense of discipleship as we reach out to these nations-in-our-midst with the invitation to join us as disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ following the Anglican Way..."

1 comment:

David Handy+ said...

Nice glimpse into the past and present. How different are things in South Dakota?

Perhaps the Dakotas are one place where the ACNA and the even newer NALC, or orthodox Anglicans still in TEC and orthodox Lutherans still in the ELCA, can do some creative work together. I hope so.

For clearly orthodox Christians in both traditions have more in common with each other than they do with their heretical colleagues within their own denominational tradition.

But if such cooperation flourishes across the Anglican-Lutheran divide, I hope this promising arrangement doesn't get stuck with the humorous but noxious label "Lutepisc." Which stinks about as much as the Norwegian "delicacy."