Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Edmund Kopietz: "Of Scandanavians and Lutherans and Episcopalians."

One thing that makes Episcopal/Anglican church development challenging up here is the ethnic identity and tradition that feeds the Lutheran congregations. A high percentage of folks have a church identity, even if it has become nominal.

Cultural groups that have some traditional identity with The Episcopal Church here are Native Americans and Anglican immigrants from Africa and SE Asia.

Edmund Kopietz of Minneapolis shared this on our NPA Facebook page, and it has historical perspective and some surprises:

"Fr.Tim asked for us to offer insights into Anglican life, in the Northern Plains, and for my first attempt at writing something here, I thought I'd write about Lutherans,Episcopalians and Scandinavians.

In the upper mid-west people of German and Scandinavian ancestry are major part of the cultural landscape, and writing about our context in the Northern Plains region, would not be complete without talking about this, as well as Lutheranism, which is also a major part of the cultural and religious landscape of the Midwest.

First lets start with Lutheranism, Lutheranism in many ways parallels Anglicanism, with somewhat similar divides between High and Low Church, liberal and conservative, and like us they are splintering, and entering a sort of self-destructive twilight. Like Anglicanism, Lutheranism was on the more conservative side of the Reformation spectrum, in everything from liturgy, to theology and in some cases polity. As an Anglo-Catholic Anglican and someone partially of Swedish and Sami ancestry I have particular affinity for the Swedish Church, which at the Reformation was very conservative, in what Catholic elements it retained,everything from fiddle back chausibles, to Apostolic Succession, to an utter lack of iconoclasm. More Catholic leaning Lutherans are a minority in American Lutheranism,but are still a vital part of the Lutheranism.Lutherans and Anglicans have been interacting with one another in various ways, particularly in the twentieth and twenty first century. I would strongly urge, my fellow Anglicans to learn more about Lutheranism, particularly the High-Church or Evangelical Catholic wing of Lutheranism. Many of the great minds of this strain of Lutheranism, have things of value to Anglicans and insights worth searching out for Anglicans. The ELCA and The Episcopal Church, have a history together, which I'll briefly note. Here is the transcript of a talk given in the 1950's at Seabury Western Seminary, concerning the Catholic movement in the Swedish church.

As for the Episcopal church, there is a history of ministry to Scandinavians in our church, particularly Swedes, and particularly in Dioceses in the Northern Plains and the Upper Midwest, Diocese with a history of Scandinavian ministry and parish life,that I am aware of are Minnesota, those in Wisconsin such as the Diocese of Milwaukee, Northern Michigan, Quincy, and Chicago. Here is link to report from 1929 regarding the place of Swedish background people in the Episcopal Church. It should be pointed out the first graduate of Nashotah House was a Swede Gustaf Unonius who founded and ministered at several Scandinavian Episcopal parishes in Wisconsin and Chicago. The church even translated the 1892 prayerbook into Swedish. It should also be known that in the colonial period, that Delaware was a Swedish colony and that what amounted to joint ministry occurred there, between Anglicans and the Church of Sweden. The colonial church of Sweden parishes where eventually folded into what became the Episcopal church.

Hopefully this brief note touching upon Lutheranism and Anglicanism was interesting and insightful."


dave said...

Hey Ed,
Good work. So good to see you posting here. And thanks to Tim for having no blogger ego : )

Jay Denne said...

Thanks for these comments. As one of the high church Evangelical Catholics mentioned in the article, I do feel a great affinity for Anglicanism. Our respective traditions, at their best, represent how to be catholic in the western church without agreeing with the universal jurisdiction and infallibility of the papacy. Admittedly, though, here in the northern plains (I'm from Sioux City), there is somewhat of a low church, pietist streak among the Lutherans in this area.