People of the Way: Renewing Episcopal Identity, beginning Sept. 16


Rev. Chick Carroll

The Rev. Chick Carroll will facilitate a four-session, small-group discussion of Dwight Zscheile’s challenging and encouraging book People of the Way: Renewing Episcopal Identity.  The book will be augmented by two documentary films that, together with the book, expose and explore some of our unconscious assumptions of Episcopal cultural superiority.  These assumptions may get in the way of truly ministering to others.  Based on a solid theological foundation that is easy for laypeople to understand, the author’s ideas are focused and clear, and pose questions for us all.

The author’s solution to shrinking Episcopal authority and influence is biblical and straightforward.  He accepts the fact that increasingly, in an unchurched culture, we need to move out into the world and cannot simply accept that the unchurched will move into ours.  “We will need to discover what it might mean for us to claim the identity of disciples, not mere members of an institutional church, in ways that resonate with our values, commitments, and gifts.”  As the author predicts, “Without renewed discipleship . . . it’s hard to envision much of a future.”

And the vibrant future Zscheile envisions rests not on clergy, but on the ministry of the laity.  As a critique of what  hasn’t been working, he states, “[F]or the most part, churches have not been organized around supporting the ministry of lay disciples in daily life.  The focus has instead been church-centric—on what lay people can do to sustain the church’s institutional ministry, . . . not on what the church can do to sustain and nourish lay disciples’ ministries in the world, which is where God primarily needs them.”  It is on the ministries of lay people that the future will depend!

The ideas and concepts introduced by the author and in the films are easy to understand but may be challenging to accept.  Bishop Lane has been promoting this book as a way of looking at our spiritual and religious lives in ways that we will find exciting even as they are challenging.

When:  Four Mondays, September 16, 23, October 7, 14    4:00 p.m.-5:30 p.m.

Facilitator:  The Rev. Chick Carroll