By the close of only one week after release, reactions to the groundbreaking report Around One Table confirm that Episcopalians see the value of using its findings for understanding and sharing in the larger church.
A comprehensive report, called Around One Table, highlights the many attributes and feelings that are common to Episcopalians. Released October 8, the Around One Table report, along with videos and other useful information, are available at: www.episcopalchurch.org/aroundonetable
Packed with ample info about The Episcopal Church, Around One Table strengthens the many commonalities among members of The Episcopal Church.
Comments posted on The Episcopal Church FaceBook praised the report. "This is absolutely beautiful. We are a church defined by our worship more than our dogma. That's a uniqueness AND a strength, in my opinion." "Awesome! I love the presentation! Good for inquirer's classes and those who are already members. A good place to start!" "It seems to me that the uniqueness of The Episcopal Church in the USA is not the individual parts - except our BCP - but rather our style of organization, decision making & authority, our continuing balanced respect for scripture, tradition and reason, our preference for having beauty and dignity in our worship, and our "middle way" of being church."
Ideally, the material will be used for conversation, theological reflections, discussion forums and Bible study. And, reports indicate that intent is being realized.
Around One Table
The multi-method study collected data between 2004-2008, based on 2569 surveys and 75 interviews including bishops, lay and clergy deputies, seminary deans, active and retired clergy, and laity. The research discovered 23 identity themes that Episcopalians used most often to describe themselves.
The report begins with a section called "Thoughts on Relationship of Identity to Wellness." Each of the five following chapters includes study findings, quotes from interviews and survey participants and questions for reflection on each of the identity themes.
Not surprisingly, the theme of "mission" only emerged later in the research phase, said House of Deputies President Bonnie Anderson.
"We may have some new perceptions of our organizational identity since the collection of the data. God's Church is dynamic, and to aid us in our conversation, 'Around One Table' provides the church with assistance in the form of reflection questions," she said. "Now it's our turn to look at the Episcopal identity themes, to expand upon them from our own experiences and to use the springboard of information provided in the report, to jump into conversation and reflection."
The findings from Around One Table will contribute to a larger overall communication strategy for The Episcopal Church.
The Episcopal Church welcomes all who worship Jesus Christ in 110 dioceses and three regional areas in 16 nations. The Episcopal Church is a member province of the worldwide Anglican Communion.
The Episcopal Church: www.episcopalchurch.org
Around One Table: www.episcopalchurch.org/aroundonetable
College for Bishops: http://www.collegeforbishops.org/