An Episcopal church in Northeast Portland has many fewer members since about 100 people left to form a new Anglican parish late last month. The rector and the majority of his congregation at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church voted on March 21 to leave and rent space nearby as the newly formed St. Matthew’s Anglican Church. They began holding Sunday services there on April 25.
The split at St. Matthew’s follows a long line of divisions in the Episcopal church over the past few years. Many point to the election of the faith’s first openly gay bishop in 2003 as the beginning of the conflict within the church, but others say that event was just one of many points of contention among progressive and conservative Episcopalians.
Long before the discussion of openly gay clergy members began, church members were at odds over the ordination of women. Women have been ordained as Episcopal priests since 1976 and the first female bishop was elected in 2006.
Are you a member of a church or other religious community? How did you make the decision to join that group? Have you ever left a community — spiritual or secular — because of irreconcilable differences? What was that like?
- David Humphrey: Rector at St. Matthew’s Anglican Church and former rector at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church
- Michael Hanley: Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Oregon