Hey, did you hear the one...

about the Episcopal priest and the Congregational pastor who had their son baptized in a Methodist church by a Presbyterian minister? That was me, and that was my oldest son, Zack. You see, at the time, Jill and I both had church calls. It seemed unfair to choose one church over the other, so we picked a neutral third church pastored by a friend. And we picked another friend to do the actual baptism.


If you think that sounds zany, it took three clergy to get Jill and me married! We had an Episcopal priest officiate the ceremony, a United Methodist pastor preside at Holy Communion, and a Presbyterian minister give the sermon.


My wife and I are good at being ecumenical. If you trace that word back through the Latin to the Greek, it means "from the whole world." When you are working with Christians of a different denomination, you are being ecumenical.


And ecumenism is so very important. At the VERY beginning, there was unity in the Christian church. There was not uniformity (after all, the four Gospels all have their own unique character) but there was unity.


Unfortunately it didn't last long. The narrative of Christian history is one of fracture. Some are well-known to us, like the Protestant Reformation. Others are not as well-known, like the exile of those who were on the losing side of the early church councils.


I think that when Christians of different stripes come back together, instead of splitting further apart, there is real kingdom work being done. Sometimes you have to look hard to see those signs of reconciliation and healing among Christians. But when you see it, it is to be celebrated and nurtured! (Like the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Pope having a good laugh)



The Episcopal Church is part of that work, being in "full communion" with a half dozen other non-Anglican denominations. Want to guess what they are? I'm listing seven Churches below. The Episcopal Church is in full communion with six of them. Can you spot the one I added? Check your answer here: https://www.episcopalchurch.org/ministries/ecumenical-interreligious/full-communion-partners/


Church of Sweden

Old Catholic Churches of the Union of Utrecht

The Moravian Church (Northern and Southern Provinces)

Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

The National Reformed Church of Liechtenstein

Mar Thoma Syrian Church of Malabar, India

Philippine Independent Church