Antiochian Orthodox leave the NCC

I wonder what the United Church of Christ newsniks thought when they put the news of the Antiochian Orthodox Church’s withdrawal from the National Council of Churches (the news isn’t on their site — its isn’t official) given the UCC’s recent vote on same-sex marriage was accounted as reason for the departure.

“We just feel we don’t have much in common with the [other NCC-member] churches,” [spokesperson, the Rev. Thomas] Zain said.

While the denomination had considered taking up the matter with a larger body of Orthodox denominations in the United States, officials decided “to do it alone. We’ll see if others follow.”

Well, color me shocked. The Antiochians have done well attracting conservative Episcopalians and they only had the filioque to lose.

Clearly, this is another case where the Big Bad Lefties driving away Christ’s Own. Or perhaps not.

Doncha just love that church’s new moniker: The Self-Ruled Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America. There’s a back story there, though I don’t pretend to know it all.

But consider the lack of an American (United States) Orthodox church, which is decidedly an anomaly. You could say they have their own “hyphenization problem” but theirs is ethnic and linguistic. The Orthodox Church of America, with its Russian roots, walks a knife’s edge in terms of legitmacy in Orthodox eyes, and doesn’t claim to be (nor is recognized as) the American Orthodox church. The Greeks are keen on this matter. It isn’t a secret that the Antiochian church — the Arab ethnic Orthodox church — has been rallying for pole position, thus the amplified name.

And I can’t but think this most-recent action is an attempt to improve their position. That’s all.

Later. Adam — who pastors a jointly affiliated UUA-UCC community church — also comments.

About Scott Wells

Scott Wells, 45, is a Universalist Christian minister doing Universalist theology and church administration hacks in Washington, D.C.

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