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Conflicting Identities: An Ethnographic Account of Conflict and Schism in an Episcopal Parish

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This paper draws upon a congregational study of an Episcopal parish in the United States in conflict over sexuality issues. Based on ethnographic research, the paper tells the story of a small Northern Virginia church’s internal struggles, schism, and continuing post-schism conflicts, in the context of its changing external social and religious landscape. A practical theological analysis of these conflicts explores the existence of different theological and political ecclesiologies shaping the conflict, as well as utilizing the work of peace scholars Marie Dugan1 and John Paul Lederach2 to consider conflict’s multidimensional, interacting features.

Affiliations: 1: Yale Divinity School, New Haven, CT USA,


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