Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The Cost of "Saddling Up" in Fort Worth

Last September, Bonnie Anderson, President of the House of Deputies, addressed Episcopalians in the Diocese of Fort Worth. Here is part of what she had to say:

...Anderson advised Episcopalians to "saddle your own horse" if they wanted to see changes in their diocese. She advised them to pay attention to the issue of governance, reminding them that parishes and dioceses remain a part of the Episcopal Church even if some members decide to leave...
Katie Sherrod offers us an example of what happens in Fort Worth when faithful Episcopalians "saddle up":

By way of introduction, my name is Marvin Long, a parishioner of Christ The King Episcopal Church in Fort Worth Texas since 1992. I am 67 and was confirmed an Episcopalian in 1963. I have served on the vestry and as Senior Warden and as Lay Minister. Until last week I edited Celebration, the church news letter. I would like to recount what happens in the diocese of Fort Worth when one `saddles up his own horse and stands up for ECUSA.'

On October 2, 2007, the diocesan office released the amendments to the diocesan constitution and canons that would "begin the process of affiliating with another Province of the World Wide Anglican Communion." Subsequently, my wife and I wrote the vestry of Christ the King parish and requested that they pass a resolution stating their intention to remain with ECUSA and withdrawing the congregation from the Anglican Communion Network.

On Sunday morning Oct. 21 at both services our interim priest preached a sermon maliciously attacking ECUSA. The senior warden attended the vestry meeting that day and handed out the old attack on ECUSA by Bishop Harold Miller of the Church of Ireland with a cover letter from Bp. Jack Iker.

I decided to include four polite articles in the November issue of Celebration that support ECUSA. For my efforts, I was removed by the interim priest as editor of the newsletter and from all other church functions. My lay minister's license was revoked (an act reserved for the bishop) and I was forced to shut down the church's web site. The small weekly healing service I and a few other liberals regularly attended was cancelled until further notice.

On Sunday, Nov. 4, I was publicly excoriated for the Celebration in both church services by the priest and the Sr. Warden. So there you have it: what happens when you saddle up your horse in Ft. Worth.

The bright side is that there is support for ECUSA here. Although I am saddened by the current state of affairs, I hopefully look for the national church to reassert itself. Come soon. I'm still on my horse.

UPDATE: The issue of the Celebration newsletter that resulted in such a strong response from the priest and warden can be viewed here.

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