Irenic Thoughts

Irenic. The word means peaceful. This web log (or blog) exists to create an ongoing, and hopefully peaceful, series of comments on the life of King of Peace Episcopal Church. This is not a closed community. You are highly encouraged to comment on any post or to send your own posts.


Parish, the thought

King of Peace from the air
Referring to people who attend King of Peace is trickier than it might first seem. One wouldn't want to say "members" as you certainly may attend regularly, faithfully even, while not choosing to join the church. "Attenders" is an awkward word. So "parishioners" seems to work best. King of Peace is then the parish (used here as synonymous with church) and so anyone who attends is a parishioner.

Yet as noted at parish may refer to a geographic area as one meaning is "a political subdivision of a British county, usually corresponding in boundaries to an original ecclesiastical parish." For example, the British comedy, The Vicar of Dibley, in its very title tells that the Vicar of the church has the cure of the souls in the political unit of Dibley. As the Church of England is the national church, everyone in that geographic area is within her parish whether they ever attend the church or not.

Looking at this idea through his evangelstic fervor and not wishing to be so bound to set borders, 18th-century Anglican John Wesley declared, "I look upon the whole world as my parish."

our sister church in EnglandOur sister church The Parish Church of St Michael and all Angels, Kingsland England features at its website the Parish Plan for Kingsland and that plan is a decidedly communal plan for that political unit, rather than merely a church plan for its own purposes. (As an aside, I thought it funny that their plan includes lighting for their church's car park, as that is in the works for King of Peace in the near future as well.)

So the term parish does not apply here in Georgia the way it did and still does in England, from whence we get the word. However, there is something to that perhaps anachronistic use of the word. For as I was asked to plant a new Episcopal congregation in Camden County, I was given the title "Diocesan Missioner for Camden County" and charged with reaching persons with no church affiliation. That charge still applies.

To grab a term from marketing, people within our area who have no church home are the target market for King of Peace. This is no new idea as World War II era Archbishop of Canterbury William Temple said, "Church is the only society on earth that exists for the benefit of non-members."

To consider Kingsland as our parish means to see the whole geographic area as our responsibility. And as we have a responsibility for the cure of souls in our community, everyone you see around town is a parishioner of King of Peace. They are our neighbor for whom we bare responsibility in sharing the love of God.


The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor + King of Peace Episcopal Church

King of Peace (top right) alongside our nearest neighbor, the high school


Post a Comment

<< Home