Monday, December 10, 2007

Support for Faithful Episcopalians in San Joaquin and Introducing the Ad Campaign

Within minutes of the vote in San Joaquin in which the former leaders of that Diocese joined the Province of the Southern Cone, Episcopal Life published an article which included this statement from our Presiding Bishop:

..."The Episcopal Church receives with sadness the news that some members of this church have made a decision to leave this church," said Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori. "We deeply regret their unwillingness or inability to live within the historical Anglican understanding of comprehensiveness. We wish them to know of our prayers for them and their journey. The Episcopal Church will continue in the Diocese of San Joaquin, albeit with new leadership."
Remain Episcopal, which is a group of faithful Episcopalians in San Joaquin, has posted numerous messages of support that they have received over the weekend.

From Bonnie Anderson, President of the House of Deputies:

...The Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin has a rich heritage of over 100 years. As loyal Episcopalians in your diocese, you have a heritage that connects you to those who have gone before you and upon whose shoulders you stand. You gather great strength from these saints.

You are also an important part of the larger Episcopal Church. Many of your sisters and brothers in Christ in neighboring dioceses and beyond, stand beside you, ready to walk with you through these times. Many stand ready to help you create a continuing community of faith, called to mission and ministry in God’s world. Please continue to refer to the steps for going forward as outlined again most recently in the ENS article found at: ( here ).

Most of all, know that you are God’s beloved. Know that you are safe. Know that you are never alone. Move forward together in joy. Rejoice in the power of the spirit!
From Bp. Marc Andrus of the Diocese of California:

...I am writing to you only two days before your diocesan convention, at which the majority of delegates to your convention and your bishop may ratify the first reading taken last year and move away from the Episcopal Church.

If this has happened when you read this letter, know that there are many brothers and sisters in the Diocese of California who pray for you, as do I, and that we will support you in the rebuilding of your diocese under the direction of our Presiding Bishop...
From The Revd. Canon Francisco de Assis da Silva, Provincial Secretary of the Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil:

...Do not feel alone. Receive the comfort and spiritual support from our Province of Brazil. We also know what is losing two thirds of a diocese for those who are concerned more with the letter than with the life. The schism of Recife, in 2004, was an example of how also we suffered losses.

We express our deepest solidarity with the TEC and also with you for remaining loyal to the Anglican tradition. Here in Brazil we offer our supportive thoughts and prayers for you, for Presiding Bishop Katharine and for all those who believe that the Gospel is love, not religion...
You can read other notes of encouragement here.

You can send you own note to:

contact (at) remainepiscopal (dot) org

Remain Episcopal has also published this message:

Those of us who remain Episcopal within the Diocese of San Joaquin extend our thanks and appreciation for the overwhelming expression of love and support that we have received from faithful Episcopalians and Anglicans throughout The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion. We are committed to the very challenging tasks that we are now faced with, including but not limited to, supporting and protecting the clergy that have stood with us, maintaining and growing the parishes that retain their Episcopal affiliation, providing support and leadership to those who are in the minority in their current parishes, informing and gathering those who have left over the years in response to words and actions they found oppressive and marginalizing. To those within our diocese who have not felt represented by Remain Episcopal but have a desire to remain loyal to The Episcopal Church, please know that we do not exclude those who may feel their opinions and beliefs differ from ours. Contact us so we can better understand all perspectives and go forward representing all. ( reach us at contact(at)remainepiscopal(dot)org )

Many of you have asked how you can help. Please continue to pray for the Diocese of San Joaquin. We are all mourning some level of loss regardless of our affiliation. We are in need of comfort, strength, discernment, and wisdom as we go forward in love and service to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The tasks that face us will require considerable financial support. We need to get the word out that The Episcopal Church is still present in the Diocese of San Joaquin. Bulk mailings and print ads for media in 14 counties are costly. We would appreciate any donations. We are a 501(c)(3) organization so your donations are tax deductable. Please mail them to:

Remain Episcopal
2067 W. Alluvial
Fresno, CA 93711
So how can we help? We can pray. We can send messages of encouragment. We can offer financial support.

For those wanting a more concrete method of showing your support, here's an idea recently suggested to me by a member of Remain Episcopal:

Getting the word out regarding where Episcopalians are meeting in a vast geographical area that covers 14 counties is going to be a daunting task, especially with a limited mailing list. Consequently, RE will have to launch a rather ambitious ad campaign in the local papers.

Here is where I think some of our creative energies might be helpful. Let's start developing some ads for RE, with these points in mind:

1. Don't assume there are existing congregations in some of these places. Our thinking needs to be towards "church planting."

2. How would you encourage those who have been hurt or excluded by the former leadership of this diocese to give the Episcopal Church a second chance?

3. What would make you take the risk of coming back to church if the current unpleasantness had caused you to conclude that churches just got in the way of your relationship with God?

4. What information would you consider essential to such an ad?

5. After considering the above points, get creative. Let's brainstorm. No wrong answers. What would YOU say in such an ad?

The clock is ticking, folks, so let's get to work. Get those creative juices flowing, and let's start cranking out some ads.


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