The Courier » Once ‘de facto national church’ marks 200 years

The Rev. John Drymon, rector of Trinity Episcopal Church in Findlay, will be attending the statewide diocese’s 200th anniversary celebration this weekend in Cleveland. He explains the Episcopal church is, in essence, “the bridge between” Catholicism and the Protestant church and notes that more U.S. presidents have been Episcopalians than any other denomination. (Photo by Randy Roberts)

 

By SARA ARTHURS
Staff Writer

The Episcopal Diocese of Ohio is celebrating its 200th anniversary and the rector of the Findlay church will be attending the celebration.

The Rev. John Drymon, rector of Trinity Episcopal Church in Findlay, said the Episcopal church is a place where both Catholics and Protestants may feel comfortable, in essence “the bridge between” the two. The church is the American branch of the Anglican communion, the third largest Christian denomination in the world after Catholicism and the Eastern Orthodox church. All these churches trace their history back to the Church of England under Henry VIII.

The Episcopal church was at its height in the 1950s and ’60s and was seen as the “de facto national church,” Drymon said. He noted that the National Cathedral is an Episcopal church, and more U.S. presidents have been Episcopalians than any other denomination.

Drymon has been rector for a year at what he calls a small but active congregation. About 75 worship at Trinity on a given Sunday, with about 200 people listed as church members. Like many mainline churches, it has seen a decline in numbers in the second half of the 20th century but is now in “a period of renewal.” The church locally is growing, Drymon said.

He said the biggest difference between the Findlay church and where he served previously, in Arkansas, is “the congregation here is much more socioeconomically and ideologically diverse.”

Politically, there are both conservative and liberal members. Theologically, they differ. But they all gather at the church “and pray to the same God together.” It’s remarkable, Drymon said, “how we live this life of prayer and fellowship” despite many differences.

Drymon said another thing he had to get used to at this church is “how raucous the passing of the peace is.” It was a “very subdued shaking of hands” at his old church. Here? “Gosh, it’s like halftime,” he said. “And I had to get used to that.”

That indicates how much these people love each other, he said, an expression he finds…

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