Diamonds and Faith: Transitioning Between Denominations

When you try to picture the relationships various Christian denominations share with each other, it is helpful to think of them as you would a diamond. The gem is cut to have many facets (think: denominations); when you hold it up to light (think: God), each facet blazes with a different color. Those colors represent what the differing denominations bring to the table. I'm not sure who first used the analogy (an internet search was very much inconclusive); however, it remains true.

It took me awhile to be able to grasp this knowledge. It is hardwired in most people to search for the absolute truth in things, and I was searching for which denomination had the best historical claim and monopoly on the truth. The best historical claim rightly belongs to the Roman Catholic Church. To dispute that is to enter into battle unarmed against the combine military might of all nations around the globe.

That said, it does not mean that the Roman Catholic Church is the best denomination for you. It has historical claims on truth, yes. It protects the faith, yes (well, sort of... that is questionable depending on your definition of protecting the faith--i.e. unwavering teachings or protecting the Gospel's message of love and acceptance).

For myself, at varying times in my life, the Roman Catholic Church was the best denomination for me. It served me well, allowing my faith to increase and allowing me the opportunity to prayerfully seek knowledge and clarity in matters spiritual. My bio on this site details a bit of my spiritual journey, and, after prayerful consideration, it is time to return to the Episcopal Church (sometimes referred to as Anglo-Catholic).

It is never an easy decision to change (or leave your church), and one that you should consider over a period of time with much prayer and discernment. It is an emotional and sometimes painful process--one the fortunate won't need to endure. My reasons for leaving the Roman Catholic fold are not universal and are not meant to be an indictment of the whole.

I resolutely believe there is room in the Roman Catholic Church for anyone wishing to make that their home. Unfortunately, there can be awkwardness and inhospitable conditions in any organization. Those inhospitable elements are exactly what I found on offer in my local parish. Let me clarify this a bit, I was never made to feel especially unwelcome, it was just that I was never made to feel welcome. After about a year in my local parish, it never gelled into feeling like a faith family for me. Sure, I share some blame in this, but so too does the congregation and clergy.

For the past few months, I have been worshipping at a lovely Episcopal church in town. I drove past it one night before worsphipping there and decided to stop by and look around. I ran into the Reverend and she kindly chatted with me and gave me a tour of the facility. This friendliness and hospitality with no appointment and at the end of the day, as she was locking up her office. I attempted to politely decline so she wouldn't be stuck dealing with me, but she seemed sincere when she offered again. I'm so very excited to be joining the vibrant faith community at Christ Episcopal Church. The welcoming atmosphere she conveyed is what is missing from so many Catholic churches--at least in my experience (see my article "Prayer Culture").

I earnestly pray that Pope Francis will be able to excite sufficient change in the Catholic Church to make the everyday interactions reflective of its rich traditions and character.