Faith in Community

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I’ve talked over and over again on here that I love the Episcopal Church and I’m so glad that my journey had me land there. One of the things I appreciate is the community worship: everyone is involved in singing, reciting creeds, praying, confession of sin, wishing each other peace, and partaking of the Eucharist. Community is one of the big things that I was seeking when I landed at the Episcopal Church, nervous because I knew that the liturgy and the Eucharist was what my soul desired and needed, but I had no idea the depth of that need. I truly believe that the only way my faith survived was because I started partaking of the body and blood of Christ on a weekly basis. After all, Jesus says he is the bread of life.

I was also looking for a faith community where I would be accepted for who I am rather than who people wanted me to be. I didn’t want to have to hide my sexuality or my beliefs on gay marriage which I was required to in my old church or I couldn’t volunteer. I now regret the fact that I tried to cover up how deeply I believed in equality just so I could keep volunteering. I should have taken the fact that the church wanted me to silence my beliefs as a sign that I shouldn’t be volunteering anymore. I hid who I was and what I believed, betraying myself and who God had created me to be in order to “serve God”. But I was longing for community and I wanted to be respected and highly thought of and so I stayed, even though I knew my beliefs clashed with theirs and that that was a problem to them.

“We do not exist solely as individual bodies, in our own little bubbles, but as a community of people made in the image of God, which means our ethics must reflect this image.” Anderson, 2015, p. 57. This is why I fight for the equality: LGBTQ, women in ministry, etc. because we are all made in the image of God and we are all in community together. We were all created in God’s image and God was the one who created each person, gifting them with their sexuality, among other things. I wish now that I had not hidden my beliefs in an effort to remain in good standing with a church whose beliefs I was beginning to steer radically away from. It had been a safe place for me to land after all the experiences that I had had, and I thought that it would be permanent, but it wasn’t, it was a stepping stone in which I could detox and move onto a community that accepted me for who I am, who I was created to be.

I had thought that I was doing the right thing at the time but I was having to betray myself and other brothers and sisters in Christ in order to try and feel important by “serving God” which is kind of ironic now that I look back on it. I’m thankful for the time I had in the previous church, it was amazing and I was able to move on with mostly good feelings to a community that worked better for me. I’m so thankful for the Episcopal Church. I’ve been able to get my faith back and truly experience Jesus by physically eating and drinking of his body and blood. I never knew that I was that hungry.

Reference:

Anderson, DE 2015, Damaged Goods: New Perspectives on Christian Purity, Jericho Books, New York.

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