TACOMA, WA - Dr. Stephen Daniel, Rector of St. Andrew's Episcopal Church of Tacoma, recently took a daring step that has since endangered his ministry. Against the advice of several other Episcopal rectors in his state, Daniel introduced Jesus Christ to his church. The response, to say the least, caused a great uproar in the church.
According to Daniel, "Our people have responded to the message of Jesus Christ in one of two ways. Some within the church body are extremely excited because they now see how they can be saved. These folks sensed that there was more to life and church than just the typical Anglican traditions. They knew they had sinned, and are now thrilled to find out that there is actually a Savior."
Marge Street, a twenty-year member of St. Andrew's, is one of the happy ones. Marge informed TBNN, "I have been in church ever since I was a teenager, but this is the first time I have ever heard about Jesus Christ and what He did for me on the cross so many years ago. I couldn't be happier!"
Rector Daniel mentioned, however, that there are others within the congregation who aren't too happy about all this "Jesus-talk." Daniel said, "Although some have given Jesus a positive reaction, the reality is that about 60-65% of the congregation has real concerns about how bringing Jesus into the life of the church will affect St. Andrew's. I personally believe that introducing Jesus to our church programs can only benefit what we are doing. Unfortunately, many are not in agreement."
Dr. Theresa Smith-Williams-Henderson, who teaches Sunday School at the church, said, "I believe Rector Daniel has good intentions. However, he simply cannot just push forth his own agenda in the church. He needs to be more reasonable. We as a church were doing well before all this began. We were reaching out to our community here in Tacoma and to those in need in several overseas countries. We were a united body. Now we have all sorts of strife and consternation within the church. Now all we seem to be talking about is Jesus and which 'side' we are on. It is all very sad."
This week's church newsletter, The St. Andrew's News, is reporting that the church body will be having a members-only meeting this coming Thursday night to discuss the situation. A few different un-named sources have told TBNN that while some people want the rector to resign, the majority just want a censure and a promise from him to cease all this talk about Jesus.
Rector Daniel, in response to hearing about the Thursday meeting, said, "At this point I'm not sure what is going to happen or what I'm going to do. I thought talking about Jesus would be good. If I can't talk about Him, I'm not sure what there is left to say."