Some time tomorrow, the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles will receive the keys of St. Luke's In-The-Mountains Anglican church. And the name will revert to St. Luke's In-The-Mountains Episcopal church. And the diocese will have a Pyrrhic victory over one of four churches that left the Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Los Angeles over the drift of the church as a whole.
Yes, in the mainstream media, you will read that the reason that St. Luke's, St David's in North Hollywood, All Saints in Long Beach and St. James in Newport Beach left the Episcopal Church is over the ordination of the openly gay bishop, Vicki Gene Robinson in the Diocese of New Hampshire. And there is some truth to it. But it is not nearly the only reason that these churches have left the denomination.
The Episcopal Church in general seems to be on a Jihad of any point of view that holds to the three legs of Anglican theology. Scripture, Tradition and Reason. It appears that much of the clerical and lay leadership are relying solely on the Reason leg. Because in many cases, Scripture and Tradition are thrown out the window.
An example is here in Los Angeles.
The diocesan bishop, The Rt. Rev. J. Jon Bruno recently apologized for religious discrimination and attempts to convert Hindus. Now, apologizing for religious discrimination is totally acceptable and maybe a correct aspect of the message of reconciliation. But, what followed is totally incompatible with a traditional understanding of Christianity. And the sacrament of Holy Communion in particular. From the linked article:
All were invited to Holy Communion, after the Episcopal celebrant elevated a tray of consecrated Indian bread, and deacons raised wine-filled chalices.
In respect to Hindu tradition, a tray of flowers was also presented. Christians and Hindus lined up for communion, but since Orthodox Hindus shun alcohol, they consumed only the bread.
During the service, the two faiths also blended practices during the handling of an icon of Jesus.
The Rev. Karen MacQueen, an associate priest at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Pomona, who was the celebrant, carried the icon, a large painted image, during the procession. She placed it before the altar.
The Diocese of Los Angeles' ecumenical and interfaith officer called the service unprecedented for the Episcopal Church. American canon law forbids the distribution of the consecrated elements to the un-baptized, but no sanctions have been levied on those bishops and clergy who regularly violate these rules.
Yea, no kidding about the violating of clear rules as to who can partake in the Holy Communion. Because it is one of the two great sacraments our church upholds (Baptism the other), one would think that a Christian bishop would uphold the basic tenant that a baptized Christian is the only ones that can partake in the Holy Communion.
Don't be silly! It is just some archaic rule. Come on, we have to be hip, with it. Who cares?
This is an example of what St. Luke's Anglican church was up against when it voted to break with the Los Angeles diocese and with the Episcopal Church.
There are many others. This example is just a recent one that has traditionalists reeling as the Episcopal Church continues to drive over the cliff. And those of us that remain are becoming increasingly aware that the church really does not want to know that we are a part of it.
So, while the diocese spent millions of dollars to regain a property, it is losing the battle of souls. It is losing the potential to spread the message of the Gospel to all parts of the world. After all, it is known as the Great Commission:
"Go ye therefore and teach all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost" Matthew 28: 19
What the diocese message seems to be is that one, do not actually believe in anything traditional. It is not compatible with the new direction of the church. Two, do not even think that leaving the Episcopal Church and take the property with you. It does not matter that those that started the particular church may actually have wanted you to do what you did, in the name of believing in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Three, we will spend all our money if we have to to get it back.
No question, they did just that. And, next Sunday Bishop Bruno will lead a phony St. Luke's back into the diocesan fold. For how long is any one's guess. There is no way that the leadership will be able to gain enough members to be as well as it was when it left the Episcopal Church and prospered as an Anglican church. And, the dreaded money.
So, yes the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles gained back St. Luke's in La Crescenta. But at a price that will prove to be one not worth it in the long run.