(Up to Letters)
December 28, 2010
To the Editor:
I thank The Rev. Shank for reminding us that members of the Diocese of Albany carry out important, vital ministries in our community and throughout the world. One example is the outreach to Haiti sponsored by St. John's, Troy, St. George's, Clifton Park, and my own parish, St. Andrew's, Albany. That ministry is the caring response of parishioners throughout the diocese, a real grass-roots effort. The point is that most of the active ministries in the diocese are the initiatives of individual parishes and members of The Episcopal Church in Albany, some of whom are members of Albany Via Media as well.
I also rejoice that Rev. Shank has found a compatible home in our diocese. What troubles me is the attitude of exceptionalism that characterizes his letter, and indeed many communications from the diocese. Other dioceses of The Episcopal Church carry out ministries abroad, sponsor active camps and conference centers, and provide pastoral support and spiritual growth opportunities for their clergy. Let us celebrate our own ministries, but also raise our eyes beyond our own diocese to celebrate the myriad ministries of The Episcopal Church as a whole, of which we are just the local expression. Our diocese is not the Church; we are not an exception. We are a constituent part of The Episcopal Church, which carries out ministries of blessing to its members and the world. That is what AVM is really about — to encourage the Diocese to join more fully in the life of the larger Church.
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