Episcopal rectors join charismatic denomination

RELIGION NOTES

June 16, 1994|By Reported by Frank P.L. Somerville

Two leaders of the charismatic movement in Maryland for many years while they were rectors of Episcopal churches have joined a new denomination seeking to blend charismatic worship with traditional Episcopal doctrine and liturgy.

The Rev. Philip Zampino, who was rector of St. Timothy's Episcopal Church in Catonsville for 10 of his 26 years as an Episcopal priest, and the Rev. Richard W. Lipka, who was rector of St. Mary's Episcopal Church in the Hampden section of Baltimore for 17 years, recently became priests of the 2-year-old Charismatic Episcopal Church of North America.

Their affiliation was announced by the church's office in Jacksonville, Fla.

The denomination consisted of only three congregations when it was formed in San Clemente, Calif., in 1992. Since then, it has attracted about two congregations a week on average and has grown to a membership of more than 15,000, it says.

Father Zampino is rector of the Life in Jesus Community near Frederick, which has been part of the Episcopal Church since 1984. As the result of a unanimous vote, the entire Life in Jesus membership will be received into the Charismatic Episcopal Church in ceremonies July 23, the denomination announced.

Commenting on his decision, Father Zampino said, "This was by no means a sudden change. Beginning in the late 1970s, I have been increasingly disturbed with trends which have been moving the Episcopal Church in the U.S.A. away from its biblical and historical moorings."

The Episcopal Church's "move away from orthodox Christianity," he said, "made it increasingly difficult for me to function, and I often felt relegated to a marginal or peripheral position for my beliefs."

Also, Father Zampino said, he found himself "often apologizing to other Christians for being a priest of a denomination which espouses, in part, what I believe to be nonbiblical and morally questionable theology."

Under Father Lipka's leadership at St. Mary's in Hampden, the congregation grew in the 1980s from 45 members to several hundred.

In 1989, Father Lipka moved to Honolulu, Hawaii, becoming rector of St. Mary's Episcopal Church there.

"Over the last several years," he said, "I and many of the members of St. Mary's [in Honolulu] have felt more and more marginalized and disenfranchised from the mainstream of the Episcopal Church in the U.S.A. We no longer felt a part of the family."

For him and his congregation, the move to the Charismatic Episcopal Church "is like coming home again," he said.

On July 1, Father Lipka will become rector of the Church of the Risen Lord, a new 120-member parish of the Charismatic Episcopal Church in Honolulu.

Baltimore priest elected

The Rev. Roger E. McGrath, vice rector of St. Mary's Seminary and University in Roland Park, was elected treasurer of the Catholic Theological Society of America at its convention last week at Baltimore's Sheraton Inner Harbor Hotel.

More than 400 university and seminary professors gathered to hear papers on the theme, "Jesus: The Concrete Foundation of Christianity." They also took part in discussions of ethics, doctrine and church history.

Elected president of the society, succeeding Gerard S. Sloyan of Temple University, was the Rev. Roger Haight, S.J., of the Weston School of Theology in Cambridge, Mass.

Other new officers elected were William M. Thompson of Duquesne University in Pittsburgh as vice president and Sister Maryanne Stevens of Creighton University in Omaha, Neb., as executive secretary.

Pastoral leader

R. David Smith, a candidate for ordination studying at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, has been appointed lay pastor of the Metropolitan Community Church in Baltimore.

The congregation is affiliated with the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches, founded in 1968. It ministers primarily to the homosexual community. "I see David Smith as an agent of healing," said Mary Kelly, vice moderator of the church's Board of Advisers.

The Baltimore congregation meets for Sunday worship at 3 p.m. in Waverly Chapel at 3401 Old York Road, where Mr. Smith will lead a workshop on "Discovering Your Spiritual Gifts" June 29 at 7:30 p.m.

Information: 889-6363.

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