Saturday, April 7, 2012

Welcomed Into Baptism

So, this is where the Journey has brought me thus far: tonight I will be Baptized into the Episcopal Church. Given all the divergent expressions of Christian faith, why this specific path? I can sum it up in five words - the five words on the banner I have noticed lately in every town or city I've passed through where a representative of this denomination resides: The Episcopal Church Welcomes You.

A simple collection of words, easily seen perhaps as a marketing catchphrase (and they do like putting it in red)... what I learned from my first foray into this a year ago, and see every time I come in contact with them, is that for Episcopalians - at least those I have encountered - this is a statement of Faith-in-practice. I have found this to be true when I went to services recently in Las Vegas, last summer in the little town of Gunnison, Colorado and in the Episcopal churches I have visited here in Berkeley... most especially, of course, at All Souls Parish which has become our home congregation. I have spoken a bit about why I came to the practice of (admittedly liberal) Christianity... this practice of welcome is why I chose Episcopalianism, and All Souls in particular.

When I first looked into Episcopal worship in our area, I saw the Welcome banners and wondered whether they meant what they said. When I sat for a small weekday service in All Souls, I wasn't sure how or whether it would differ from churches of other faiths I'd been to here and there in my life.  I first went in to look at the church itself, and then sat in the little downstairs chapel where a small noon service was going to be held, looking through a Book of Common Prayer. This is from my journal that day, March 31, 2011: