I’m not entirely sure as to why or how the Episcopal Church attracted the ire of the Enid News and Eagle, but we most certainly have (Terry Mattingly’s national column, “Episcopal leaders on church’s Groundhog Day nightmares,” Dec. 16, 2020). So, as the rector of St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church in Enid, Oklahoma, I too would like a short say.
For starters, the information on the service with our Presiding Bishop, including the guest list, is true. We really don’t have any issues being in relationship with Sikhs, women, Muslims, LGBTQ, Condoleezza Rice or even the Lutherans. We’re weird that way.
The facts and figures presented are true. The Episcopal Church is in decline and has been for a number of years and, in general, we are made up of small congregations — always have been.
I once served five small congregations at the same time (one of them had an average Sunday attendance of four) and I would pit the strength and vitality of each of those five congregations up against any and all comers.
Would Joe Biden like our church? I’ve no idea and really don’t care. We don’t preach Joe Biden or Donald Trump in our church. We preach Jesus.
Finally, the opinions of those clergy who were quoted, in my personal and professional opinion, are worthless. Want proof? Step through the doors of St. Matthew’s. You will discover a people who are deeply passionate about loving God and loving their neighbor. You will find a church that is healthy and growing. You will find a place where we strive to make disciples of our savior.
Yeah, the Episcopal Church has its share of problems, but if you want someone to at least try and love you the way that Jesus loves you, then come see us. That’s what we do.
The Rev. Dr. John Toles