Title

Revisiting the site of reconciliation : all may, some should, none must.

Date of Award

5-1-2014

Document Type

Dissertation

School

Drew Theological School

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry

Abstract

The "ministry of reconciliation" which has its roots in Christ's life and work and is illumined by Paul in his 2 Letter to the Corinthians (2 Cor. 5:17-21), calls all Christians to acknowledge that the entirety of life has been reconciled to God. Thus, we are called to see him in all things and to be Ambassadors of the Reconciliation to the world in Christ's name. In the Episcopal Church, there is a liturgical sacrament, known as the Reconciliation of a Penitent (commonly referred to as "private confession). This sacramental rite seeks to embody the theological concepts of reconciliation--confession, forgiveness and the joy of being renewed in the pronouncement absolution which is itself a mark of resurrected life--within the confines of a confidential ritual. However, in most Episcopal Churches, this Rite is not only seldom used, it is also seldom even known! St. David's Church in Wayne, PA is a very typically parish in this regard. Before the work of this project, members of the congregation were interview to explore their feelings and knowledge of this Rite. Based on this research, it was discovered that many viewed the Rite as both foreign to the Episcopal tradition and objectionable upon being told that it was an option. Yet, ignoring this Ritual means that Episcopalians miss out on the opportunity to practice and receive the joy of reconciliation. Thus, the work of this thesis and project is to examine the intersection between the Christian ministry of reconciliation and the realities of a modern church experience at St. David's to try to encounter a Reconciled and Resurrected life and monitor the transformation that can occur with congregations are educated and exposed to this sacramental grace.