I write you this letter with a full heart: it’s been a long discernment process for our denominational affiliation, and I’m glad we are through the meat of it.
For those wondering, here are next steps for us:
1) Our initial affiliation with the Episcopal Church will occur through applying to be recognized as a “Missional Community” within the Episcopal Diocese of Indianapolis.
This could cause confusion, because normally “Missional Community” is used to describe a small group that focuses on mission, but for our purposes, it’s simply a designation that allows us to be connected to the diocese under the leadership of Bishop Jennifer, maintaining our orders and rites of worship together, while continuing to discern long-term belonging in the Episcopal Church.
2) This status will last at least 12 months, during which time Ben, Spencer, and I will begin the process of moving our ordinations into the Episcopal Church.
The first official step in this process is that we need to become members of an existing Episcopal parish. Our friend the Rev. Cara Spaccarelli at St. Christopher’s in Carmel has invited us to become members of her church.
What this means for The Table: not much. We will still be around every Sunday to lead worship and pastor our community. We (the three co-rectors) will need to receive communion at St. Christopher’s at least three times in order to fulfill our membership requirement there. Rev. Cara suggested Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of Holy Week as a preliminary plan.
3) In the next 12 months, the three co-rectors will work together with Bishop Jennifer to address any educational or formational requirements we may need to fulfill.
This could be a certification program or reading or other diocesan initiatives with the purpose of filling in any gaps that remain for us to be received as priests in the Episcopal Church. This may be different for each of us according to our own experience and formation/education.
4) In this 12 month+ interim you won’t notice much, if any, change in our worship and congregational life together.
We may have more opportunities locally to partner with other Episcopal churches for events or Holy Days, but our worship, values, practices, etc will stay the same.
We deeply appreciate all who joined with us in prayer and discernment over the last few months. The grace and maturity and patience shared by all was an encouragement. It’s an honor and a delight to serve you as Co-Rector of The Table. God’s welcome and abundant love be yours this day.