Article XXXIII: Of excommunicated persons, how they are to be avoided

3 Responses

  1. Penny Nash says:

    A certain Archbishop got in trouble with the King about this once. But you know that, having seen the movie recently.

  2. Reverend Ref says:

    1. Is it disturbing that our church still maintains a mechanism for excommunication?

    No, not in my mind. We all need to be accountable for our actions. When we live in or participate in a faith community (or even a regular business for that matter), we are held to certain behaviors. Forgiveness and reconciliation are part of what we are about, but if a person chooses to act in a way inconsistent with the standards of the church, then excommunication may be the only way to recognize that.

    2. What, if anything, should merit excommunication?

    In my case, it was escalating negative and subversive behavior by two parishioners along with an completely unfounded accusation of child abuse. I’m not sure I excommunicated the couple, but I did advise them that they were “barred from receiving Holy Communion at this altar until such time as [they] apologize for that statement and promise to amend [their] negative behavior in such a way as to work for the benefit of this parish.”

    Doing this within the first four months of accepting my new call and a week before Holy Week was not my definition of a good time.

    3. How should an excommunicated person be reconciled with the church?

    Well, in my case it was requiring an apology and promise. It was also to entail a year-long “sabbatical” from leadership positions. They decided to leave the church rather than be part of a parish with me as the rector. They did, however, issue required apology for the accusation and I did notify all parties (vestry, LEMs and bishop) that they were now welcome to receive Communion should they choose to return.

    So, there’s probably a longer answer than you were looking for.

  3. Scott Gunn says:

    Penny, yes, and that Archbishop is going to win the Golden Halo.

    Rev Ref, I don’t envy your experience of #2. And as long as it’s a last resort, I don’t disagree with what you’ve written in #1. Please do comment again sometime — long answers are great!