Church in breakaway denomination joins Episcopal Church

The Table’s congregation worships at at United Methodist church in Indianapolis. Photo/The Table

The Table Church of Indianapolis, which was founded in 2015 within the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), has decided to leave the denomination and join the Episcopal Church.

ACNA is largely composed of congregations that left the Episcopal Church over such theological issues as the full participation of LGBTQ persons in the church or the ordination of women. Some ACNA churches were established in cooperation with the departing parishes.

The Table Church reported on its website that its members voted 44-4 to depart from ACNA and join the Episcopal Diocese of Indianapolis, led by Bishop Jennifer Baskerville-Burrows.

“We sensed there was better alignment for The Table within the Episcopal Church (and especially the Diocese of Indianapolis) than there was within the ACNA, specifically as it relates to:

  • Our commitment to resisting patriarchy and empowering women to fully lead in the church (ACNA prohibits women from being bishops).
  • Our commitment to social and racial justice, standing in solidarity with marginalized oppressed communities and working for liberation for all.
  • Our commitment to cultivating a resilient, non-reactive, non-anxious Christianity.
  • Our commitment to practicing a generous “big tent” spirituality rooted in the deep well of the Anglican tradition.

“We have begun the process of applying to be an affiliated ministry of the Episcopal Church, which is a designation that provides time and space for us to move toward full membership as a parish of the Diocese of Indianapolis,” The Table said in its message.

The message from The Table’s rector, the Rev. Ben Sternke, added that “we are being welcomed as the church we are, which is already well-aligned with the values of the diocese. We are also excited and hopeful for the fruit that this new affiliation will bring, both in and through our community.”

On the diocesan website, Baskerville-Burrows wrote that The Table’s leaders “have told us that our diocesan mission pillars, especially our call to stand with all the vulnerable and marginalized, have helped them discern their path forward to us.

“They are committed to being a safe place for LGBTQ people and to joining with us in our work to dismantle systemic racism and discrimination. I give thanks for their willingness to set out on this journey and for their care for The Table’s congregation in the midst of this change.”

She noted that she has consulted with Presiding Bishop Michael Curry and his staff “to ensure that we are proceeding in accordance with the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church and with love and respect for our siblings in Christ.”

Baskerville-Burrows also said she has “sought counsel from and had conversations with my fellow bishops, including the bishops of dioceses that were forced to reorganize after bishops and clergy left the Episcopal Church for ACNA as our church moved closer to the full inclusion of God’s beloved LGBTQ children. And I have talked with Bishop Todd Hunter of the Anglican Church of North America, whose diocese The Table is leaving, and am assured that he intends for their transition to be peaceful and free of conflict.”

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