The Year of Moving Forward

The Year of Moving Forward
At our 4 person wedding reception in DC

Friday, February 25, 2011

An interesting church

While in Charleston, South Carolina I became interested in St. Michael's Church, which is the oldest church edifice in the City of Charleston. It stands on the site of the first Anglican Church built south of Virginia.

My interest in the church was generated by a cookbook at an aunt's house. The book is called Faithfully Charleston and has some interesting recipes but also some bits of information about the church, including this description of an epitaph from the graveyard:

Another tells of the mother of nine children, who died, "age 17 years and 27 days."

Do the math.

Anyway, we went to the church the next day so I could purchase a cookbook.

Later during the day we returned and walked through the sanctuary.

Look at this pulpit in the middle of the room.

From the church information flyer:

The pulpit is the original one, remarkable for its height and the massive sounding board supported by two Corinthian columns. Its prominence bears out the fact that at the time the church was built, the center of interest in the service was the sermon, conflicting with the central place planned for the altar...Although the present reading desk was given in 1892 as a memorial, it is in the location of the original desk, and together with the pulpit above it makes up what is called a "double-decker."

Here is the Tiffany chancel decoration. The window was installed in 1893, and shows St. Michael casting out the dragon.

Here is the organ, originally installed in 1768, but altered several times and restored in 1994.

Something didn't feel right as I walked through the church.

I later learned that the Diocese of South Carolina is in a "battle" (their word, not mine) with the leadership of the Episcopal Church, over the acceptance by the church of homosexuals, and in particular the ordination and consecration of a partnered lesbian as bishop suffragan of the diocese of Los Angeles.

Bishop Mark Lawrence has said that he and Episcopal Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori “stand looking at one another across a wide, deep and seemingly unbridgeable theological and canonical chasm.”

He has declared the diocese sovereign within the church.

Shades of South Carolina's secession from the Union. And (as a distraction), now a South Carolina lawmaker wants the state to issue its own currency. What is going on with the people of that state?

The Diocese has not split from the Episcopal Church as of yet. I hope they realize that the conservatives in this situation are the ones causing the divide...they are the ones breaking away.

Anyway, for those Episcopalians who don't believe that God makes mistakes and want an inclusive and welcoming church in South Carolina, there are several on this list of welcoming churches, including St. Marks in Charleston.

From their web site:

We welcome all Christians to full participation in the St. Mark's Parish family without regard to gender, age, marital status, sexual orientation, disability, race, or cultural heritage.

Back to the cookbook

Onion Pie, John's Island Tomato Pie, and St. Michael's Staff Party Chicken are a few of the recipes that caught my eye, and will be among the first to try. And when I feel like baking, I'll try my hand at The Lady Irene Charleston Cake.

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