Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Some news from San Joaquin

So I was just kindly invited to join Facebook's cause in support of the folks who wish to remain Episcopalian in the diocese of San Joaquin. Clearly I'm in favor of anyone who is about trying to keep our church together. The group turned me on to a situation that is at first rather inspiring but ultimately heartbreaking.

I'll just post the articles and you can make your own judgments. The first is about a vicar in the diocese who voted against the split from the ECUSA and his response to being informed of the former/foreign bishop's visit to his mission (I say former/foreign because the bishop is no longer ECUSA and is now aligned with a foreign body of the Anglican Communion):

Here's an excerpt, in which I think it seems he is really grasping to understand where he stands as a clergyperson in this splintered diocese:

"We would like you to state to us your pastoral and canonical relationship with St. Nicholas Episcopal Church, and myself," Risard wrote in his letter. "You publicly stated at our diocesan convention that you no longer are the Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin, and instead you are a Bishop within the Province of the Southern Cone. As such, we understand your visit is simply to worship with us; there will be no liturgical role for you, neither celebrating nor preaching. The Episcopal Church welcomes all, and you are most welcome to worship, with the purpose of seeking transformation and reconciliation."

Noting that following their Eucharist, the mission congregation plans to "go out into the community to deliver groceries and coats to a dozen needy families as we seek to do the work of Mission which comes out of our worship of our Lord Jesus Christ, our Savior," Risard asked in his letter, "Will you be coming as our Episcopal Bishop, having repented of your actions at Diocesan Convention, seeking forgiveness and reconciliation? Or will you be coming to worship as a visiting foreign Bishop seeking to reconcile with your former congregation and Vicar, and, following the Mass, to join us as we take groceries and coats to the poor?"

And then the followup, which is that this vicar (who I think is rather brave) was fired on Christmas Day. That's a low blow. I remember when my parents were emailed on Christmas Day from their church telling them that their offer for the parsonage was rejected. Yeah, it's never fun. I don't get why churches do that. What crappy timing. Anyway, here's that story:

And an excerpt from the former/foreign bishop, from prior to the vote to depart the ECUSA, which I think pretty much says it all about where his priorities lie:

"If we vote up (to leave the Episcopal Church USA and join Anglicans elsewhere), we're going to lose the liberals and their money, and if we vote down, we're going to lose the conservatives and their money.' "

Ah, yes. It's all about the money, isn't it. And in that particular area, simple math, there was more cash to be had from conservatives than liberals. Jesus would be so proud.

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