Dancing on the Head of a Pin

There is a legend of St Thomas Aquinas asking "How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?" At this blog we ask all questions dealing with our faith and spirituality. Some are down to earth, rubber meets the road questions, while others are more lofty...like, how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?

Monday, February 13, 2006

The Episcopal Church Welcomes You

Yesterday, four people were confirmed and three were received into the Episcopal Church. It was a glorious occassion in which our Assisting Bishop, the Rt. Rev. Charles Keyser laid hands upon each person bringing them into the fellowship and communion of the Episcopal Church and the world wide Anglican Communion.

In seminary, I was taught that confirmation was a practice looking for a theology, in that confirmation as we know it began as chrismation (as the Orthodox still do it) where Bishop lays hands and annoints the newly baptized. But over time as the Bishop held on to the perrogative of laying hands on every baptized person, it became difficult for the bishop to travel to every parish and lay hands on every baptized Christian. Thus the Bishop started coming around every three years, then every seven years, and so on, until the act of the Bishop laying hands became known as confirmation and was done around the 12-14th year. The act of the Bishop laying on of hands was originally a part of the initiation rite that included baptism, and it was all done on the Easter Vigil. It wasn't a particularly theological reason that pushed the laying on of hands back, but a practical one. In any case, I believe the Bishop coming to the parish and bringing each person into the Church is a powerful act. Every Episcopalian has been brought into the Church by the Bishop; the Bishop has called each of our names and we are joined with billions as a member of the one holy catholic and apostolic Church.

Steve +

PS: St Michael's is seriously considering starting a parish books and gifts store in the Wimberly House, a home we bought 13 years ago for a community ministry center. I don't like hokey names and we want this to have ecumenical appeal (although the inventory will be solidly Anglican). What would be a good name for a books and gifts store? The following names are out: Archangel Books and Gifts, Noah's Ark, Shepherd's Nook, and the like.


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