A friend of mine reports today that while passing by a well-known Episcopal congregation that shall remain nameless, in a major U.S. city that also shall remain nameless, she saw a large sign in front of the church that read thus:
In small but legible black letters: “The Lord be with you.”
In large red capitals: “AND ALSO WITH YOU.”
In blue print below: “We STILL say it. The Episcopal Church welcomes you.”
I asked for a photo, but as my friend was passing through, she was unable to get back to the church to take one. Sigh.
Now, frankly, I think this is in rather poor taste. As an Episcopal priest, I think there are infinitely better ways of going about pastoral care for disaffected members of other churches. The Episcopal Church has prided itself on not engaging in proselytism. This seems to be adding insult to injury for those Roman Catholics who are only vaguely aware of the changes forthcoming in the new translation, as well as those more informed for whom changes to the congregational responses in the dialogues are a major sticking point. As a liturgiologist, I have a number of concerns about the new translation, and can level my fair share of critiques about the same. But this campaign seems rather disingenuous, because we Episcopalians also still say, “And with thy spirit,” having never abandoned that response in our Rite I liturgy.
I’m glad Episcopalians are recognizing that we have a stake in the liturgical reforms of our neighboring Christians… I just wish we knew better how to express it!