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The Episcopal Church?


Joker
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I was raised Baptist and dh Presbyterian. We found our way to the Catholic church four years ago and have been happy. 

 

Both dds, 14 and 16, came to us regarding the Episcopal church. They would like to try it. They feel it has what they love about the Catholic church coupled with the acceptance they don't feel there. Oldest dd is gay. 

 

So, I don't know if dh and I will switch as well but we will definitely go with them and support them in this if it's what they want. I don't want to do anything to push them away from religion or the church so if this is what they want, we are completely on board. 

 

Now for the questions. Are all the Episcopal churches here accepting or is there something we should look for? Is the service similar to a Catholic service? What are the differences? Anything you feel we should know that we might not expect? Honestly, anything information at all would be helpful at this point. 

 

 

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I'm not a Christian now but I love the Episcopal church. They are very accepting in our area, very liberal and dedicated to serving their neighbors. I attended an Episcopal church in several cities and Anglican services overseas at times. It was similar to Catholic services but less complicated and IIRC they had more modern liturgies. I really liked it. If I had to go to church for some bizarre reason, I'd go there. Not because I agree with the theory but because I basically find the people pleasant to be around and not to be hypocritical.

 

I can see why your kids would be drawn to it.

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Very inclusive for LGBT. It was my son with intellectual disabilities that was bullied on the church playground and in Sunday school. So I don't consider that parish inclusive because a member of my family is not included.

 

Experience will vary by parish. Dh takes ds to another Episcopal parish on Sundays now. I'm a lifelong Episcopalian. The experience was painful and I quit attending. Dh says new church is good to ds.

 

Look for the main Episcopal diocese. There are some places it doesn't exist, since the big split a few years back. I'm in VA and there's one around every corner, but there's only two in the state of SC. I'd avoid a parish that uses 1928 Book of Common Prayer. I like that order of service, but I'd wonder what other "traditional" things that parish had. Traditional is often a code for less inclusive.

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I have been both. Like others have said, it will depend on the parish. The masses I attended were similar to the Catholic . As my time in the Episicpal church went on, i noticed more and more differences. It was similar on the surface, but the more I became involved, the more prominant and severe the differences became.

 

I would am confused as to reason for the switch. The Catholic church is pretty welcoming to gay people, maybe you have another church in you parish?

Edited by Silver Brook
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I came to the Catholic church via the Episcopal church, and will always have a love for it. Sounds like a perfect fit for your kids, and should be very welcoming. Just check the parish and diocese websites...there has been a splintering lately over gay marriage, and some are more traditional leaning and some more liberal leaning. Obviously you are looking for the more liberal ones. 

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There is some significant variety in parishes depending where you live in how they deal with some theological questions, but you aren't likely to find any that are unaccepting or unpleasant unless you are just unlucky enough to meet a bunch of jerks in one place.  Although - because of some of the political problems (within TEC) that are causing really significant effects, you could find there is some real bitterness around that issue in some parishes. 

 

Service wise, the normal episcopal servise is structurally very similar to the Catholic one, and comes from the same 20th century liturgical reform movement.  Some will have more simple, protestant trappings (low church) or even may look a little evangelical.  Others look very fancy with a lot of incense and more formality (high church).  You may find the music very similar to what you have in the Catholic service but it also may be a lot better - one of the joys of Anglicanism is that it has a very nice vernacular musical tradition that has had plenty of time to come to maturity.

 

Some parishes use the older style of liturgy either part of the time or exclusively.  That would not seem far out either, it is structured in a familiar way.  IMO its a stronger and more beautiful liturgy, but you might find it feels old fashioned in terms of its language. (As an aside, like the KJV it was very influential on the development of the English language.)

 

In the long term, if you became more serious about it, there are significant issues in the Episcopal Church that would be worth thinking about, there are real questions about its continued viability and relationship to the Anglican Communion.

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My Catholic mother married my Methodist father and they both converted to Episcopal.   I've been to Catholic services several times with my maternal family and I often forget it isn't Episcopalian.  Including the one time I went up for communion and scandalized my Great-Aunt.  

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We were Episcopalian for 15 years with good memories and now go to the Catholic church.  I miss many things from the Episcopal church but it is struggling in many ways right now.  It probably is generally much more accepting and that was my experience even in a subburban church, although the Catholic parish we attend is friendly as well, but I think not to the same degree.  My experience is that Episcopalians have very good music, even in small parishes and generally the liturgy of the mass is much more beautiful.   The Catholic church is much more focused on community and family which we really liked and which I never experienced in the Episcopal church.  Sure do miss the music though. 

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As others have said, Episcopal churches vary widely. Liturgy can look like pre-Vatican II Roman Catholic or very simple reform church type. Church can be full of icons, statues and candles or it can have plain white walls. Political social views can be conservative or liberal. There is no pattern. For example, I know of one church that uses the Anglican missal, choir sings in Latin, yet the church has been a leader in gay rights and had on staff one of the first 'irregularly' ordained women priests (who, by the way, always preached very traditional, scholarly biblical sermons).

 

So, my advice is to visit several churches, if you have a choice. Look at websites. Even if your DC love the first church they visit, they may like the next one even better.

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My mom's family is Episcopalian/Anglican (depending on where they stand on "hot button" issues) and the denomination is on the verge of schism. Lots of drama over churches leaving the ECUSA and affiliating with the African-based mission group, often resulting in lawsuits over property and donations. Might not be the healthiest thing for your child to experience as a teen.

 

I would suggest visiting the liberal branch of the Lutheran church (forget the specific name, but it's the one that is NOT the Missouri Synod) since they have a liturgical service but not all the conflicts that the Episcopalians & Anglicans are experiencing at the moment.

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My mom's family is Episcopalian/Anglican (depending on where they stand on "hot button" issues) and the denomination is on the verge of schism. Lots of drama over churches leaving the ECUSA and affiliating with the African-based mission group, often resulting in lawsuits over property and donations. Might not be the healthiest thing for your child to experience as a teen.

 

I would suggest visiting the liberal branch of the Lutheran church (forget the specific name, but it's the one that is NOT the Missouri Synod) since they have a liturgical service but not all the conflicts that the Episcopalians & Anglicans are experiencing at the moment.

 

There was a lot of drama 5-10 years ago. It's not an issue today. You want to try the main Episcopal Church not the splinter groups. The splinter groups were not accepting of homosexuality that was one of the big issues.  Again look at websites to be sure.

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The Episcopal church is still wrapped up in a push pull between the liberal and conservative parishes. It's more settled than it was but it's still there.

 

My family attended an Episcopal church for several years after being actively Catholic. Like the Catholic church each location varies some in the level of acceptance. Generally most American Episcopal churches will be more progressive than the average Catholic church. They perform gay marriages and have some openly gay leadership. They also ordain women which was why my parents opted to try it out.

 

It is not the case that *all* of this hoopla was 5-10 years ago and is now over. The worldwide Anglican community has discussed sanctioning some of the most progressive dioceses as rexently as last year and at least around here I can think of 2 churches that would like to splinter off and reject the more progressive turn the overall church in the US has taken but they can not because their buildings and land are mostly or partly owned by the diocese.

 

My parents went back to the Catholic Church though my mother continued to volunteer a lot with the Episcopal church she lived near because she enjoyed the work (running a meal program for homeless people). My father is especially active in the Catholic Church again- he's at mass 3x a week and volunteers with 2 Catholic charities.

 

My gay and transgender brother was not well treated at the Episcopal church we attended and it eventually led him to a liberal American Baptist church with a gay minister that my husband and I were attending with friends. My husband and I tried the Catholic Church again, left for an American Baptist church and then left that for nothing thus far.

 

I haven't thought of returning to the Episcopal church because of the mistreatment my brother received and because the priest at that parish informed me after my mother died that they would be performing her funeral. I was like, have a prayer service if you like but she's being buried out of this Catholic church where a priest visited her every single day in hospice and someone who was not a jerk to her son will perform the service. That said, that particular location was definitely a very conservative one and I am sure you would be able to find a more liberal one. As a cradle Catholic liberal it seems that I should feel home in the Episcopal church but unfortunately I do not.

 

Besides checking out church websites, this is a tool to find an open and affirming (much different than those churches which claim to be welcoming but still maintain your son's sexuality is a sin). You can select an area and denomination and find some in your your area which proactively added themselves to this list.

 

http://www.gaychurch.org/find_a_church/

Edited by LucyStoner
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There was a lot of drama 5-10 years ago. It's not an issue today. You want to try the main Episcopal Church not the splinter groups. The splinter groups were not accepting of homosexuality that was one of the big issues.  Again look at websites to be sure.

 

My uncle's a deacon and according to him, there's still a lot of drama. I'm Catholic like my dad's family so I'm just watching from the sidelines but it looks like a big mess to me.

 

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My uncle's a deacon and according to him, there's still a lot of drama. I'm Catholic like my dad's family so I'm just watching from the sidelines but it looks like a big mess to me.

 

 

 

Perhaps it's more settled where I live. The lawsuits over buildings and land have been resolved with the property staying with the Episcopal Diocese. The groups that sought leadership under African missions lost all claims. It was sort of interesting from a legal standpoint because some of the documents used were from prerevolutionary time.

 

I don't think I will ever go to my local parish again, but that's related to how my ds with disabilities was treated. I'm sort of turned off of going to church at all because of those events.

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There was a lot of drama 5-10 years ago. It's not an issue today. You want to try the main Episcopal Church not the splinter groups. The splinter groups were not accepting of homosexuality that was one of the big issues.  Again look at websites to be sure.

 

I would not say that is true, they are in a very akward place with the Anglican Communion which could very possibly end up with them in schism from the AC worldwide.

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Oh, one big difference is dress! Although I usually dress up for Mass at the Catholic church I was also comfortable going in a t-shirt and jeans if I needed to or was running late. I would feel VERY out of place going to Sunday services in jeans and a t-shirt at an Episcopal church, although I'm sure there are some parishes it would be okay. 

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I think the property issues are settled where I live too, but there continues to be a battle between extremists on both sides.  It got exhausting. 

I've seen people storm out of church during a sermon, argue with a priest during a sermon, send nasty letters to the priest or vestry and get groups of people together to create division.  So exhausting.  One of the bishops was very unpopular and then when he made a visit half the people would skip church on purpose that Sunday.  I just got tired of that level of animosity.  We were never angry at the church we just sort of fizzled out with it.

The only thing that I really didn't like was the interfaith (not ecumenical) worship services and the all path leads to God trend in general. We're full on Christian and so I wasn't wanting a UU style church and theology and it seems in our area that is the popular thing right now.  Not for me but ymmv.

I still think Episcopal/Anglican music and liturgy are the best though.

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Oh, one big difference is dress! Although I usually dress up for Mass at the Catholic church I was also comfortable going in a t-shirt and jeans if I needed to or was running late. I would feel VERY out of place going to Sunday services in jeans and a t-shirt at an Episcopal church, although I'm sure there are some parishes it would be okay. 

 

 

Yup, definitely varies by parish. The last time I went there was the full range from jeans to dresses.

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We found a Catholic flavored, affirming church with a woman priest and we like it a lot so far!

 

There was an intro class and the priest mentioned that congregations can vary one to another.

 

Being in a congregation that doesn't actively look down on one group or another has been a relief.

 

I hope you find a wonderful congregation!!

Edited by happi duck
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Oh, one big difference is dress! Although I usually dress up for Mass at the Catholic church I was also comfortable going in a t-shirt and jeans if I needed to or was running late. I would feel VERY out of place going to Sunday services in jeans and a t-shirt at an Episcopal church, although I'm sure there are some parishes it would be okay.

It does have a history as the church of choice of many affluent WASPs. It also used to be called by my Irish Catholic grandparents "the Republican party in prayer" back when Catholics were generally Democrats.

 

Many locations are very casual now though.

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It does have a history as the church of choice of many affluent WASPs. It also used to be called by my Irish Catholic grandparents "the Republican party in prayer" back when Catholics were generally Democrats.

 

Many locations are very casual now though.

 

Yes, and if you look in the UK, historically they tended to be very much protectors of wealth and power, whereas something like the Catholic Church, which didn't have the social cache, could be far more progressive and radical on things like economic issues.

 

Here in Canada, the political spectrum was similar - Catholics were Liberals, and Anglicans and Protestant Scots tended to be Conservatives, and later the more evangelical types would often be Social Credit or some other more socialist group.

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A gay Catholic family member of mine attends a Metropolitan Community Church. I know very little about it (I'm an agnostic nonpracticing Catholic) other than that it is focused on being inclusive and supportive of the LGBT community. It looks to be more on the liturgical side than not as far as Protestant churches go.

Edited by BarbecueMom
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Yes, and if you look in the UK, historically they tended to be very much protectors of wealth and power, whereas something like the Catholic Church, which didn't have the social cache, could be far more progressive and radical on things like economic issues.

 

Here in Canada, the political spectrum was similar - Catholics were Liberals, and Anglicans and Protestant Scots tended to be Conservatives, and later the more evangelical types would often be Social Credit or some other more socialist group.

On my dad's side I am the product of a long line of social justice minded Catholic labor unionists so it's something I am fairly familiar with. My hero growing up was Dorothy Day.

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On my dad's side I am the product of a long line of social justice minded Catholic labor unionists so it's something I am fairly familiar with. My hero growing up was Dorothy Day.

 

Yes, although recently there is a trend towards social justice issues within the Episcopal Church. But in my area it was definitely the wealthy denomination. With all that goes with that. Of course, in my area the liberal ones were Jewish, with maybe some being Catholic. Hard to say, my friends that were Catholic had UBER Catholic parents...as in tending towards schismatic almost. 

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Besides checking out church websites, this is a tool to find an open and affirming (much different than those churches which claim to be welcoming but still maintain your son's sexuality is a sin). You can select an area and denomination and find some in your your area which proactively added themselves to this list.

 

http://www.gaychurch.org/find_a_church/

 

Thank you for this link! I actually was surprised to see so many in my area. Most were Methodist, Episcopalian, and Lutheran. There were actually a few Catholic ones as well which threw me. Some were off shoots and not really part of the RCC but one listed on there is. I'm not sure why it's on there.

 

It did lead us to finding an Episcopal church within 20 miles that is very welcoming. The priest there has actually been a speaker at several local events in support of LGBT youth. The local schools near this church also have very thriving GSA clubs and seem supportive. I'm surprised considering where we are in the Midwest but am very happy at the moment. 

 

We are going to try this particular Episcopal church out this Sunday and we're all very excited.

Edited by Joker
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I have been both. Like others have said, it will depend on the parish. The masses I attended were similar to the Catholic . As my time in the Episicpal church went on, i noticed more and more differences. It was similar on the surface, but the more I became involved, the more prominant and severe the differences became.

 

I would am confused as to reason for the switch. The Catholic church is pretty welcoming to gay people, maybe you have another church in you parish?

 

 

Our parish has been very welcoming. Dd feels they will cease to be if/when she decides to actually have a relationship. She wants a family. 

 

I actually think it's a very healthy thing dd is doing. She isn't out to anyone buy immediate family and close friends. She has talked with our priest but that doesn't go beyond them. I think this is a step for her to be out to church family as well and she wants a safe, comfortable place to do so. 

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I'm not a Christian, but I love the Episcopal service. We attend several times a year. As a general rule, they are open, accepting and affirming, and depending on the parish, very focused on social justice. And the services are beautiful.

The ELCA is also generally open and welcoming. I have many LBGTQ friends who have found a home in those Lutheran churchs (but not the Missouri Synod).

 

I also think it's wonderful that your daughter is searching for a church that supports both her spiritual and family relationship. I hope she finds a church that she loves.

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I came to the Catholic church via the Episcopal church, and will always have a love for it. Sounds like a perfect fit for your kids, and should be very welcoming. Just check the parish and diocese websites...there has been a splintering lately over gay marriage, and some are more traditional leaning and some more liberal leaning. Obviously you are looking for the more liberal ones. 

 

Another, similar, that they may want to try is United Church of Christ. A former Reformed pastor friend of mine switched over to the UCC and is now a minister there. Personally, I would stay where I am, my children know where the fences are in our Church and what the options are for them. If a couple of my children felt led to go over to the Episcopal Church or the UCC, I would respect them. It's their journey, not mine.

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So, Joker, how was it???

 

Edited: I'm living vicariously as I had to miss Mass again today, due to this stomach virus making it's way through the house. I feel mostly better but people keep getting sick so afraid I'm still contagious, or carrying germs. 

Edited by ktgrok
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I was raised Baptist and dh Presbyterian. We found our way to the Catholic church four years ago and have been happy. 

 

Both dds, 14 and 16, came to us regarding the Episcopal church. They would like to try it. They feel it has what they love about the Catholic church coupled with the acceptance they don't feel there. Oldest dd is gay. 

 

So, I don't know if dh and I will switch as well but we will definitely go with them and support them in this if it's what they want. I don't want to do anything to push them away from religion or the church so if this is what they want, we are completely on board. 

 

Now for the questions. Are all the Episcopal churches here accepting or is there something we should look for? Is the service similar to a Catholic service? What are the differences? Anything you feel we should know that we might not expect? Honestly, anything information at all would be helpful at this point. 

 

Did your children enter the Catholic Church with you? If so, truly, they need to talk to someone about leaving the Church, and especially about the Church's position on same-sex attraction.

 

If you go with your dc to an Episcopal service, you understand that you will still need to attend Mass, right? 

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Did your children enter the Catholic Church with you? If so, truly, they need to talk to someone about leaving the Church, and especially about the Church's position on same-sex attraction.

 

If you go with your dc to an Episcopal service, you understand that you will still need to attend Mass, right? 

 

I'm hazarding a guess that this was not really what Joker was looking for when seeking to consider moving to the Episcopal Church.  She said her daughter has talked to the priest at their church...I'm betting her daughter understands the Church's position on homosexuality (tolerance but NOT acceptance) and that is why she wants to move on.  

 

When my brother considered returning to the Catholic church as a trans, married gay man and parent of two, he was told by the welcoming and very liberal Catholic church we buried my mother out of that he'd probably feel more comfortable in the Episcopal church.  Since my brother had experienced what he did at the Episcopal church when transitioning, he did not take the advice.  

Edited by LucyStoner
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I'm hazarding a guess that this was not really what Joker was looking for when seeking to consider moving to the Episcopal Church. 

 

I'm sure it wasn't. But as a sister in Christ, I felt compelled to say what I did. I cannot eagerly encourage someone to leave her church, or to help her children leave her church.

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I'm sure it wasn't. But as a sister in Christ, I felt compelled to say what I did. I cannot eagerly encourage someone to leave her church, or to help her children leave her church.

 

I'm pretty well sure that it's not any of my business where you choose to go to church...it's similarly none of yours where she or her kids choose to go to church.  

 

Since her daughter has talked to the priest, it's possible this suggestion came from him.  That would be the suggestion my brother got when contemplating returning to the Catholic church, from a Catholic priest.  "Try the Episcopalian church."

Edited by LucyStoner
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I think pretty mature of the dd to bring this up and she probably has done some of research on denominations. The OP said her dd had talked to the priest.

 

While the RC stance on this matter has softened, the current stance is not truly accepting. The OP did say on her dds concerns was she would like to have a family.

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I'm pretty well sure that it's not any of my business where you choose to go to church...it's similarly none of yours where she or her kids choose to go to church.  

 

Since her daughter has talked to the priest, it's possible this suggestion came from him.  That would be the suggestion my brother got when contemplating returning to the Catholic church, from a Catholic priest.  "Try the Episcopalian church."

 

I'm sorry to hear that your brother was advised to leave the Church by a priest. :crying: I would be horrified and scandalized to learn that a priest suggested the same thing to the OP's daughter.

 

The OP made it "my business" when she asked a question on a public forum.

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So, Joker, how was it???

 

Edited: I'm living vicariously as I had to miss Mass again today, due to this stomach virus making it's way through the house. I feel mostly better but people keep getting sick so afraid I'm still contagious, or carrying germs. 

 

Maybe half of us got hit with the same thing? We didn't make it today and are just now starting to feel alive again. Next Sunday, though, and I will update!

 

 

 

Did your children enter the Catholic Church with you? If so, truly, they need to talk to someone about leaving the Church, and especially about the Church's position on same-sex attraction.

 

If you go with your dc to an Episcopal service, you understand that you will still need to attend Mass, right? 

 

We understand what it means to leave, to look around, and all that entails. 

 

 

 

I'm sure it wasn't. But as a sister in Christ, I felt compelled to say what I did. I cannot eagerly encourage someone to leave her church, or to help her children leave her church.

 

I don't look at it as encouraging dds to leave the Catholic Church but rather to hopefully avoid them leaving church altogether. I feel that would be much more damaging to myself and my spiritual life than them simply leaving the Catholic faith.

 

They make good points and I have no idea why the Catholic church would want two teenagers who don't at all agree with them on same sex relationships and one who is pretty sure she will actively go against their teaching. It's a big deal when you add in dd really wanting a family of her own. She feels no guilt and feels the church is wrong on this. I support her and want her to find her place just as I found my place, which wasn't the same as my own parents.

 

I also expect no one to eagerly encourage us but simply supporting our decision would be nice. 

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My uncle's a deacon and according to him, there's still a lot of drama. I'm Catholic like my dad's family so I'm just watching from the sidelines but it looks like a big mess to me.

 

 

That may be true, but seems like there's a lot of drama in a lot of churches. And the Catholic tradition from which the daughter is coming from is not drama-free. Seems like there's some rumblings in the Catholic church over this particular Pope, and some more conservative folks think he's going to far with some of his "softening the stance of the church" speeches and some aspects of his social justice-y talk. I know this --- and I'm not Catholic. It's just been in the news. 

 

I cannot imagine that teenagers are going to be THAT involved in the inner workings and conflicts of the wider church. Sure, find a pretty stable individual church, but no need to avoid an entire denomination because they are dealing with changing times. We're all dealing with changing times, and various churches are responding in various ways to it. Might be a great thing for this young person to wrestle with big questions in the church at a time when identity is also a really salient part of a young person's life. You don't know what God might have in store for the daughter at this point in time in a church that is in a place to affirm all of who she is at this point in her life, and what seeds might be sown for her future faith journey. 

 

I'm pretty ecumenical in my approach to faith - kind of "all doors lead to heaven" in my sensibilities about other traditions, so I don't have a lot of concerns about one church vs another if the basic values align. I hope your daughter finds a place for her. That seems most important. 

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You aren't a sister in Christ with Christians who aren't Catholic?  Interesting.

 

I'm pretty sure I didn't say that.

 

If you want to argue with me, then argue with me. But don't find fault with something I didn't say.

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