Episcopal Church

Rev. Joe Michael poses for a portrait at St. Timothy's Episcopal Church in Chehalis in February. The church will hold a silent auction and bake sale. 

Last month, the archbishops of the Anglican Communion voted to temporarily kick the American branch of the Communion, the Episcopal Church, out of its international association to a degree for its acceptance of gays and lesbians.

Two-thirds of the 37 leaders of the Communion voted for the censorship, suspending the Episcopal Church from voting and decision-making for the next three years.

While the decision is said to have derived from the Episcopal Church’s decision in July of last year to allow its priests to perform same-sex marriages, Father Joe Mikel, priest at St. Timothy Episcopal Church in Chehalis, agrees with the Episcopal Church’s acceptance.

“If you’re gay, a lesbian, transgender human being, do I throw you on the ash heap of life?” Mikel asked. “Are they human beings? Do they need love? Do they long for inclusion and forgiveness … just like me?”

Mikel has been preaching at St. Timothy for the past couple months. He said he doesn’t see the sense in the division and believes that all humans should be loved.  But he said at his level, he doesn’t have much of a say in larger church matters.

“I’m just a local guy in a little local community,” Mikel said. 

Instead of dwelling on the divide in the church, St. Timothy focuses on helping people, including providing its Mobile Ministry, which feeds the hungry on Saturdays at the Salvation Army parking lot in Centralia.

Mikel said the discussion of sexuality has been a topic for decades, since the 1970s. One of the major turning points that began to create a divide between the Communion and the Episcopal Churches was in 2003 when the New Hampshire diocese affirmed Gene Robinson, an openly gay man, as bishop.

The election of Robinson set off “shockwaves” and caused some Episcopal churches in the U.S. to split and form other churches and move to other denominations, Mikel said.

After that, the Anglican Communion told the American branch not to ordain any more gay bishops until it could be discussed. The U.S. branch didn’t listen, and a few months later ordained a lesbian. 

Mikel said the divide is essentially between Western and Eastern cultures. The Communion has about 85 million members in 165 countries.

Mikel thinks the Episcopal Church will find a way to stick together and the American branch will not split off. 

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(3) comments

Roseburg

Wow, Father Joe ignores over a thousand year of Christian theology as well as the Bible. What is found in Genesis 1:23-24 this: "This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh she shall be called woman for she was taken out man. That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife and they become one flesh. Jesus echos this in Matthew 19:4-5, " Haven't you read", he replied, "that at the beginning the Creator made them male and female,' and said 'for this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united with his wife, and the two will become one flesh'? This clear show that marriage as God ordained it is between a man and woman.

pjim66

Good for him , Its time churches stopped judging what they truly don't understand. O r stop judging people who are diff period, Try getting educated more on what they dont understand and more excepting of others. Stop living in the dark ages, and being hypocritical .

pjim66

Prejudice breeds prejudice, And there is plenty in this world, The churches have been able to keep that alive and going, Does the bible say anything about Loving thy neighbor or you without fault cast the first stone, give me a break , this is the future not the 2000 year old past, God doesn't make mistakes so there for these humans that you so blatantly dismiss were created by him, whether they fit your Idea of a man or woman, That is not for you to judge.

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