Friday, January 02, 2009

Wisconsin Parish Votes to Leave The Episcopal Church

AP reporting:

MILWAUKEE (AP) - A Wisconsin congregation has decided to leave the Episcopal Church to join a more conservative branch of the world Anglican Communion.

St. Edmund’s Episcopal Church of Elm Grove is joining the the new Anglican Church in North America.

Milwaukee’s Episcopal Bishop Steven Miller says he’s disappointed by the announcement. He adds that members can leave a parish, but parishes cannot leave the diocese. That makes the future of St. Edmund’s uncertain, since Miller says the diocese owns the church property.

At. Edmund’s spokeswoman Marsha Ohlgart says the 125-member congregation is aware of the conflict. She says it owns the land and rectory but is uncertain about the church.
BB NOTE: After finding a photo of the church building, it perhaps makes a bit more sense that there is differentiation by the different spokespersons between the land and the building. The building is obviously an architectural experiment (love the Midwest's architectural adventurism as Frank Lloyd Wright made so famous) and it could be that the diocese will want to fight for this interesting architectural rendition of a church. Or not. Maybe they'll just hire a truck and haul it away. It doesn't sound like the parish would be all that upset.

LATER: Or would they? Visitors to St. Edmund's write that it was surprising to see the photo (the photo at the top of the story - not the one with the truck), which was taken in 1962. More to come. Stay tuned.

It does sort of boggle the mind to separate the buildings from the actual land (truck or no truck) - and perhaps even more so, to separate the buildings from their people. What if there was a giant roped off area where all the buildings that once had Episcopal signs out front could be hauled off to, like a used car lot, except for Episcopal church buildings? After all, it seems to be the buildings that 815 seems to be most concerned about in their lawsuits, certainly not the people, most especially not the people. Maybe if they just roped off an area - say, like, the entire State of Delaware for example - and just hauled all the buildings over there they'd get exactly what they've sued for. But the people would be gone - and what's a building without the people?

Check out Rowan Williams New Year's Address to find out. For where our treasure is, there shall our hearts be also.


Kevin said...

Okay, I'm a bit slow, I didn't get you "Note" and thought it might be a tad harsh ... but reading the same story on another site I noticed:

She says it owns the land and rectory but is uncertain about the church.

Now I get it ...

Anonymous said...


I've been to St. Edmund's several times and I never noticed it looked like that! Maybe the trees and bushes mask its unusual architecture. Or maybe I was always running late and not paying attention.


BabyBlue said...

Well, I wonder then if the photo is correct. Think I'll change it until I can find out for sure. It was listed that way on an architectural firm's website - but perhaps it's incorrect. Stay tuned!


Anonymous said...


You need not "pull" the photograph. I can assure you the photo is correct, though clearly taken close to the time of construction. I lived and served a parish in a suburb near St. Edmund's for a number of years and the building is -- how to say this gently? -- striking. Over the years, however, time and maturing landscaping, much of it artfully done, have softened things a bit. The late rector was a priest known and respected widely for his steadfast pastoral attention to his flock and beyond. Many in that flock were dear friends of my wife's and mine and I have witnessed that faithful priest's Godly ministrations day and night and, on occasion, in the wee hours of the morning.

All that said, this development is not altogether surprising. Despite the style of the building, St. Edmund's has long been a traditionalist congregation with a high church style of worship and a grand ministry of hospitality.

My heart goes out to those dear souls at St. Edmund's, some of whom remain friends. I can only pray that both -- or should one say ALL? -- sides in this issue will spend far more time on their knees in prayer than in chairs at an attorney's office.

Somehow, in some way, I pray that the bishop and the parish will be able to model behavior that will "bring a happy issue out of this affliction," and be a beacon for others in similar situations.

I know they can. Now, if only they WILL! But, as they say, "it does take two...."