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.


Erring on the Side of Grace

The main page this week at Anglicans Online tells of some interesting names of Episcopal and Anglican (as we are known in other parts of the world) churches generated from the fact that we are known as King of Peace, Kingsland as it is typical to add the geographic location. These names include:

St George, Freezywater
St Andrew by the Wardrobe
St Francis in the Redwoods
St Clare in the Cove
All Hallows by the Tower
St Giles, Cripplegate
St Matthew, Heart's Delight
Nicholas, Leading Tickles
Holy Innocents, Paradise

But my favorite is Transfiguration, New York City, which is better known as "The Little Church Round the Corner." The reason for the name found in the church's history is that:
It was in 1870 that Joseph Jefferson was rebuffed in arranging for the funeral of his friend, George Holland, an actor. Told that there was a little church around the corner where "they do that sort of thing," The Little Church Around the CornerJefferson fervently exclaimed, "God Bless the Little Church Around the Corner" and that famous benediction has echoed down through the years. This brought about a close relationship with the people of the theater which has continued to this day. It also brought about the founding, in 1923, of the Episcopal Actors' Guild, which carries on an active program at its national headquarters in the Guild Hall.
The Episcopal Actors Guild has had notable actors as officers including Basil Rathbone, Tallulah Bankhead, Joan Fontaine, Rex Harrison and Charlton Heston.

Founded in 1848 to "to embrace all races and classes" the church lived up to its name by welcoming those other churches would not welcome, like actors. The church in its earliest days was involved in the abolition of slavery and harboring runaway slaves. They also had bread lines for the unemployed.

I think in all of these ministries, they were the church that would err on the side of grace when other churches were setting clear boundaries. It seems better to make the mistake of being too loving rather than too judgmental. Somehow "The Little Church Around the Corner" sounds like a church that Jesus would like a lot.

The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor



  • At 9/19/2007 6:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Would you explain why actors were not welcome in church? I never knew that.

  • At 9/19/2007 10:38 AM, Blogger King of Peace said…

    Up until recently, actors were generally viewed as disreputable. And so an actor, who had no church affiliation would not easily find a church that would bury him (or her). This is quite ancient. In an interesting text from early Christianity, Hippolytus wrote The Apostolic Tradition. In it he gave counsel on who could and coule not be baptized saying in part:

    They will inquire concerning the works and occupations of those are who are brought forward for instruction. If someone is a pimp who supports prostitutes, he shall cease or shall be rejected. If someone is a sculptor or a painter, let them be taught not to
    make idols. Either let them cease or let them be rejected. If someone is an actor or does shows in the theater, either he shall cease or he shall be rejected. If someone teaches children (worldly knowledge), it is good that he cease. But if he has no (other) trade, let him be permitted.

    The full text of Hippolyus is here The Apostolic Tradition and the part quoted above is from a larger section found at number 16.


  • At 9/19/2007 10:54 AM, Anonymous Linda+ said…

    Maybe someday The Episcopal Church of Our Savior at Honey Creek will be known as "Everyone's church on Dover Bluff."

  • At 9/19/2007 11:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Thank you for taking the time to explain! I learned something new today, and that is always a good thing!

  • At 12/27/2007 12:11 PM, Anonymous Miss Amanda said…

    The Little Church Around the Corner (address: 1 East 29th Street) is well worth a visit. Among other treasures is a beautiful stained glass window depicting Joseph Jefferson bearing the shroud-wrapped body of George Holland into the churchyard, where Christ stands with open arms to welcome them.


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