We have Priests, Deacons, Bishops, Presiding Bishop, Deans and, of course you who are the laity – mentioned first in the order of ministry.
We are Parish, Diocese, National Church, Anglican Communion, as well as clergy and people who left the
Episcopal Church over issues that they thought were being imposed upon them by some far away source. Indeed, decisions on the National level are made by elected delegates from parishes all over the country.
Having written that, I want to start at the bottom, if you will, and share some thoughts and ideas about why I began with An American Church.
Unlike our Roman Catholic sisters and brothers we don’t have a Pope. Each of our leaders is elected or called to the position they hold.
First, you, the members of Grace Church elect your leaders at an annual meeting. You also elect delegates to the Diocesan Convention where we join with other churches in the Diocese of San Diego to discuss and vote on issues of policy and budget.
At that annual convention delegates, Clergy and Laity, are elected by that body to attend the General Convention of our Episcopal Church held every three years. At that Convention those delegates from parishes all over the country – who were elected at Diocesan Conventions, gather for prayer and worship and decision making about issues and the budget that face the National Church.
So it looks to me like – as I noted –our Church works from the bottom up – not the top down. Just as Americans with our elected officials we elect local and state officials and then Members of Congress and the
Bishops, Presiding Bishop, Deans and Clergy are called to be spiritual leaders of us all. Bishop Mathes provides pastoral care and spiritual guidance to all of the Clergy in our Diocese.
We are an American Church belonging to our loving and faithful God in Jesus Christ.