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Top 10 Reasons to be an Episcopalian 

(from the comedian Robin Williams, who is an Episcopalian, on an HBO special)

Commentary by Deacon Carolyn Woodall

10. No snake handling.

Our worship is quite conventional. We have hymns, prayers, sermons, and we celebrate the Holy Eucharist (Communion). The principal source for our services is the Book of Common Prayer.

9. You can believe in dinosaurs.

Not only that, you can believe that they existed many millions of years ago. We don’t know the mysteries of creation, but do know that if you want to explain creation to bronze-age, nomadic tribes you don’t tell them that about thirteen billion years ago, God said, “Let there be light,” and the Big Bang happened. That’s an amazing and difficult thing to comprehend even today.

8. Male and female God created them; male and female we ordain them.

Yep, that pretty much sums it up. God decides who will be called to ministry.

7. You don't have to check your brains at the door.

We encourage intellectual examination of faith and find that, rather than destroying faith, this examination makes faith much stronger. Our approach to scripture, and our ultimate beliefs about some of the details and interpretations, may differ from those who choose not to apply their God-given intelligence to their faith, but faith which can stand up to such scrutiny can’t help but be strong.

6. Pew aerobics.

We stand, we sit, and we kneel – as we are physically able.

5. Church year is color-coded.

We, like many churches, use different colors during the various seasons of the church year. We use purple or blue in Advent, purple in Lent, white for Christmas and Easter, Red for Pentecost, and green for ordinary time – between Easter and Advent.

4. Free wine on Sunday.

The Holy Communion is given in two parts – bread and wine. We use wine as it was part of the Last Supper, and Jesus commanded us to do likewise in remembrance of Him. We believe in the real presence of Christ in the bread and wine (which differs from transubstantiation), and also that the bread alone is sufficient for Communion if one does not wish to consume wine.

3. All of the pageantry - none of the guilt.

We do like pageantry – we wear vestments color coded for the church year or the special day. We also process in and out of the church and use a processional cross. On special occasions we may include banners. As for none of the guilt, I think Robin was taking a jab at the Roman Catholic Church. We’ll leave that to the comedian.

2. You don’t have to know how to swim to get baptized.

We baptize by pouring water over the forehead, and we baptize infants. If you want a full-immersion baptism, you can probably find a priest willing to do it.

And the Number One reason to be an Episcopalian:

1. No matter what you believe, there's bound to be at least one other Episcopalian who agrees with you.

We absolutely believe that the mind of God is beyond our comprehension. We also believe that the Bible is a living document which must be read in our present cultural context. As a result of this we find many interpretations of scripture to exist. We welcome diversity and respect that not everyone is of a like mind in all things pertaining to God.

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