Two Clergymen form a friendship amidst a denomination in dispute

Back in the 1990s, the Episcopal church had a major schism. Up until that point, there had been tension between congregations with different views. But the moment that brought the tension to its climax was the ordination of an openly gay man. Afterwards, many congregations left the Episcopal Church and began identifying as Anglican. (There is no difference in doctrine between the two. “Anglican” is the name that the Church of England identifies with. However, they have separate jurisdiction from the Episcopal Church in America.)

I grew up in an Episcopal Church during this schism, and mine was one of many churches that left the denomination over the dispute of homosexuality. Ironically, as a grown man, I came out of the closet–not only as gay but–as a gay Christian. However, my church ended up joining a smaller, newer denomination that was more popular in Africa called the Charismatic Episcopal Church.

Ever since that fateful day of ordination, those in support & opposition have been at each other’s throats for 20 years! Many congregations that left the denomination refused to leave their buildings, which the Episcopal denomination owns, resulting in million-dollar lawsuits.

In the midst of that dispute, 2 clergymen from opposite sides of the argument of homosexuality & same sex marriage have reached, what could easily be called, an impossible friendship. Rev. Tory Baucum leads a Truro Church in Fairfax, Virginia, which left the Episcopal denomination. He & his wife drove to Richmond to initiate a friendship with Shannon Johnston, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia (the most populous in the United States) & his wife in the spring of 2011. Since then, the bishop has agreed to allow Truro Church to operate its building, which the Episcopal Church owns, rent-free, as long as they clean & maintain it.

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