Monday, March 3, 2008

A New Name for an Old Church in Manteca

(Originally published as an Editorial in the Manteca Bulletin)

Several Manteca families founded St. Mary the Virgin Anglican Church in 1956. They were assisted by St. John the Evangelist in Stockton (founded in 1850 on land given by Captain Charles Weber himself)! The church moved to our current location, on the corner of Cottage and Louise, in 1960 surrounded at that time by fields.

Having been in Manteca for only a year, I have been blessed to be able to minister to some of those same founding members, their children and grandchildren, who continue to pray and work toward the Kingdom of God. The prayers and spiritual support of our oldest members has never been more important as we are facing our greatest challenge in leaving our former denomination, the Episcopal Church.

Like many of what are called ‘mainline’ churches, the Episcopal church does not require its members to teach that Jesus Christ is the only way to salvation, that Holy Scripture is the inspired word of God, suitable for teaching and correction. Also, they do not require that their members be faithful in marriage and celibate outside of marriage. As my great-grandmother used to say, ‘God instituted the family before He instituted the church.’

For Anglicans and the vast majority of Christians all around the world, as well as the people of St. Mary the Virgin, the Lordship of Jesus Christ, the Authority of Holy Scripture and sexual morality are non-negotiables. Our former denomination and the media like to play on the salacious details of this change in our church, but they will find none of that in the Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin; we simply preach the Gospel and seek to build up and strengthen the Christian Family through ministries like Engaged Encounter which we hosted over President’s Day weekend.

You will still find that we offer our building for the Bread of Life ministry every Tuesday, for Alcoholics Anonymous, Al Anon, Hospice of San Joaquin Grief Groups, the California Alliance of Retired Americans and for the Manteca Pregnancy Center, among others. Our former denomination has threatened to sue us and to take our buildings. On learning about this, I was blessed to find ministers from the Greater Manteca Ministerial Association offering us the use of their facilities if we were made homeless for the sake of the Gospel. Christians all over this community have called us and written notes saying that they are praying for us and support us.

I want to thank this community for the support of our Christian family as we continue to seek and to serve the lost in the name of Jesus Christ. May we all have the opportunity to continue in the things that we have learned, knowing from whom we learned them.


Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Giles,
I really do not know why you became an EPISCOPAL priest. Why did you not become some other exclusive denomination? I for one am tired of the twisting and the turning of the truth that goes on here with every post I read. TEC most certainly does not support adultry, although, you have many in ministry here in this diocese that have divorced once or more and continue to serve. I suppose your intrepretation of scripture does not apply to them? I am amazed at the way you have taken things that the PB has said and quoted them out of context.
Stop using scripture to back your prejudices. It is not becoming in the least!

HowardRGiles+ said...


I was not ordained as a priest in the Episcopal Church, but as a priest in the one Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.

Holy Scripture provides allowances for divorce, but not for promiscuity. I agree that priests serving should be held to the highest standards, and I appreciate your encouragement to uphold those standards. I am not well versed in what Holy Tradition says about this issue, while it seems that the great traditions (Rome, Constantinople and Geneva) disagree on this issue.

I find no reference to KJS in this post.

Anonymous said...

Last Sunday I heard an excellent sermon in our local parish that encouraged us to follow the way of Matthew 18 when resolving conflicts with our brothers and sisters. The preacher also alluded to an article published in our local newspaper the day before featuring Remain Episcopal. He inferred that the members of Remain Episcopal who claimed they had been relieved of leadership postions in the Diocese of San Joaquin because of their more liberal/moderate views, should have been guided by Matthew 18 instead of publishing their grievances in the papers. I personally know at least two people from Remain Episcopal who met many times with the former rector of our parish in attempting to resolve their differences.

Now Father Giles, on the Diocese of San Joaquin weblog, has struck again. He claims that ECUSA does not require its members to be faithful to their spouse in marriage. I am convinced that bearing false witness of this sort has nothing to do with Matthew 18. I am also convinced that the war that has begun within Anglicanism, and published for all the world to see, does not bring people to faith in Jesus Christ. Rather, it drives them away.

If preaching Matthew 18 is suitable for the Remain Episcopal crowd, then it should also be suitable for the Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin.

Anonymous said...

Fr. Giles, Bully for you. Keep up with the good fight.