Saturday, May 19, 2007

Black Hole of Fort Worth (Click)

For many months, The Episcopal Majority has encouraged Episcopalians in dioceses such as Fort Worth, Dallas, San Joaquin, and others to share their stories with the wider community. We are grateful that Barbi Click has been willing to submit this essay for publication on our site. It appears that the Communion generally hears from the dissidents who object to the direction of the Episcopal Church, and their voices create a skewed perception of our church. We invite other loyal Episcopalians to share their stories here.

Black Hole of Fort Worth
(by Barbi Click)

Sometimes, amidst the deafening silence, we forget that our voice can be heard by those outside of this diocese. Similar to a nightmare where the dreamer is trying to scream but no sound comes out – that is what it is like here in the Diocese of Fort Worth. We try to make our voice heard, but to no avail. Even the strongest grow weary with time.

There are good people here in Fort Worth, good loyal Episcopalians who want to be members of the Episcopal Church – far more loyal Episcopalians than anyone from the diocesan offices would ever admit. There are people here who disagree strongly with the bishop of Fort Worth on many issues. Yet at what price? Many have been worn down into silence simply because they have fought for so long to no noticeable avail. Some continue to stay the course under a constant barrage of derision. Others have been driven off. Some merely walked away in disgust. There are non-denominational churches here full of past Episcopalians. There are few Episcopal choices of parishes to attend if one stands out from the crowd. I drive 50 minutes each Sunday, passing at least four other parishes just to get to one that welcomes me. This commute makes it a bit difficult to be a full part of the parish life, particularly during the week.

Because of the widespread and well known animosity to those who disagree (whether loudly or not so loudly) with the diocesan "party line," a parishioner may be sitting next to another of like mind yet never know it. It is just not talked about. There is too great a risk in voicing an opinion to one who is in full agreement with the politics of the diocese. Too many people are just not willing to poke the sleeping bear. They "just want to go to church." Therefore, the wider Episcopal Church – not to mention the Anglican Communion – does not hear the voices of the loyal Episcopalians marooned in the Diocese of Fort Worth.

This situation negatively affects not only lay people, but also clergy. Many of the clergy are fully vested in the Church Pension Fund; some are biding their time. Some of those same ones are here because they know they were called by God to be here as pastors. What would happen to their people if they bucked the system too much? If they pushed just a little too hard? While vested, they are not necessarily ready for retirement. If they do not toe the line, they are ostracized, derided, reprimanded. To whom do deacons and priests turn when it appears they are totally alone? Of course, the sanctimonious will answer that question with "Well, to God, of course!" But the church is supposed to be about community – our relationships with one another – also.

Then there are those clergy who are here because they consider themselves "in exile." They do not feel welcome in other dioceses of the church. They don't want to be in other dioceses either, simply because they have such antiquated feelings toward women. Their options have been reduced to Fort Worth, San Joaquin, and Quincy. Then there are those who have finally been able to come home; they have been in other parts of the church, in other dioceses that they considered too liberal. Now they are safely ensconced within the boys-only club.

So what is a person to do to survive? Many hide out in their parishes, believing that if they just keep their heads down and go about the business of the church, then all will be well. They do their work – preaching and pastoring, altar guild, lector or lay reader, flower guild, Daughters of the King, women's or men's groups, Bible study, vestry stuff – and try to find hope in all of that. Many succeed. Others go to the service and then back to their secular lives.

From the time of its creation in 1983 (when it was formed out of the western section of the Diocese of Dallas), this diocese has never been a part of the Episcopal Church. Those who disagree with the official diocesan stance have always been alone, cut off in significant ways from the life of the Episcopal Church, because too many people outside this diocese believed the words coming from inside; they have believed it is just "a few whiny women" complaining. As the words and actions of this diocese's leaders have grown more extreme, others are beginning to see that this is not the case. It is not just a few whiny women, nor merely a few malcontents.

There is a deep seated problem in the Diocese of Fort Worth. It may be true that no canon laws have been broken yet; but these certainly have been bent. There is discrimination here for sure. The Episcopal Church in 1976 authorized the ordination of women to the priesthood and determined that gender should not be an automatic disqualification from the discernment process, but Fort Worth has been allowed a squeaky way to violate that canon since its implementation. Of course, finding someone to speak out against the diocese might be a bit hard. Not too many of those women who have been able to squeak through the infamous (but not infamous enough) "Dallas Plan" will speak out against the practices here. They have too much to lose. Is being a priest or deacon worth that much? And what can be said of a church that allows the price to be so high for one particular group? And isn't it strange that men deacons so often are transitional deacons, while all the women deacons are members of the permanent diaconate? I am not judging the permanent diaconate or those in it – merely making an observation about the lopsided gender ratio.

What parish here will call a woman? Or better yet, what parish here will find ways to call a woman priest even when the bishop says no? What woman will sacrifice her call to say "no" to the purported adequacy of the "Dallas Plan" and demand by canon law that she be allowed to be raised up by her own parish, by her own priest, by her community into the ordination process? What woman is willing to go through the possible years of canonical wrangling? For sacrificing her call and fighting legal battles is exactly what it would entail. What a spiritual community would have to surround her to do that! What spiritual energy and fortitude it would take to sustain that journey down that long road! The woman may be found, but I don't know if the community – locally or nationally – can be.

Despite this latest puff of hot air from Fort Worth, we realize it will probably be at least 1½ years before Fort Worth makes a move to abandon the See. Since it takes two consecutive diocesan convention votes to change the constitution, the earliest action should be November 2008, assuming the diocese plans to honor its own constitution and canons. So, as I noted in another blog, it is all just posturing. Thinking that the changing of the constitution will make them one less iota part and parcel of the Episcopal Church is as convoluted as thinking that women cannot be priests. This diocese exists only and because of the fact that it is a part of the Episcopal Church. Saying it isn't so, doesn't make it right.

About the Author
Barbi Click is a member of Trinity Episcopal Church in the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth. She is Vice President of the South Central Region of Integrity, co-founder of Fort Worth Via Media and Via Media USA, and a novice Companion in the
Rivendell Community, a religious community of the Episcopal Church. She holds a Masters of Theological Studies from the Brite Divinity School of Texas Christian University.

36 Comments:

Blogger SiouxSue said...

And there are also loyal Christians in the Diocese of Fort Worth who support our bishop and are tremendously thankful for his strong, brave leadership. Yep, we are NOT loyal Episcopalians, just loyal Christians...and many, many of us are female and proud of it.

5/20/2007 12:11 AM  
Blogger Barbi Click said...

Sue,
nor did I ever judge otherwise - as opposed to your inference that because I claim to be a loyal Episcopalian I am not a "loyal Christian.

5/20/2007 8:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How wonderful that such progressive thinkers as the author don't mind becoming viewed as apostate by the majority of the Christian Church around the world. It's time that somebody told off a couple of billion people!

5/20/2007 10:58 AM  
Blogger Grandmère Mimi said...

Barbi, thanks for speaking out from Fort Worth. Those outside the diocese need to hear more voices like yours.

5/20/2007 1:19 PM  
Blogger David Charles Walker said...

Thanks, Barbi, for being where you are and for speaking Truth in the midst of such obvious hateful hostility. You are a brave and courageous pioneer, and I firmly believe that voices like yours will be remembered and honored long after this particular instance of pharisaism has been allowed to bleed itself out.

5/20/2007 2:51 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Anonymous, I don't see where Barbi or anyone else here has "told off a couple of billion people."

And I can't speak for Barbi, but I can assure you that it makes me very sad that many other Christians view me as apostate. I -- like the vast majority in the Episcopal Church -- take the Bible very seriously, and I believe we are being faithful to Christ.

5/20/2007 3:06 PM  
Blogger Lauren Gough said...

Barbi,
Thanks for your speaking out for the a good portion of the people of Ft. Worth. As a native of Fut Wuth, I am irate with those high church baptists that have captured the diocese and call themselves Anglican. If the majority of the diocese of FT W. does leave I would like to come home. If there is a bishop out there who would like to fund a missionary to those who would like to continue in communion with the Episcopal Church I would like to sign up.

5/20/2007 6:45 PM  
Anonymous Mary Clara said...

Barbi, you are in my prayers. Thank you for this strong and informative report.

Lauren, you too are in my prayers, both in your present situation and in your longing to go home and plant anew.

5/20/2007 8:08 PM  
Anonymous ettu said...

Great witness to the world - I only wish it were available on to other blogs - courage and continue being a voice to those who are too cowed to speak - it sounds like you are surrounded by bullies and particularly nasty -sexist - ones at that.

5/21/2007 6:40 AM  
Blogger Ann said...

Judging by the response of anonymous (interesting that you are unwilling to sign your name or link to your blog) - I can see why people are fearful in the Dioces of FW. Difference does not mean apostasy. Thanks for your courage Barbi.

5/21/2007 9:13 AM  
Blogger Dale said...

It's also the case the people don't quite know what they're getting into when moving to Fort Worth. I moved there from Houston (diocese of Texas) after living in the dioceses of Oklahoma and Louisiana. I was active in the Episcopal church in serval parishes in those 3 dioceses--hardly "liberal" ones. But Fort Worth was something else all together. I moved to Dallas really because of the diocese of Fort Worth; in other ways, I greatly preferred Fort Worth. Now happily in the diocese of Long Island.

5/21/2007 9:18 AM  
Anonymous Phil said...

The same comment might be written in reverse by conservative Episcopalians, and the situation obtains in far more dioceses than ECUSA loyalists face in reverse. I'd be interested to hear whether Ms. Click's concerns extend to those people.

5/21/2007 10:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lisa, I believe the "telling off a couple of billion people" remark above referred to those 2 billion or so folks who belong to communions that do not have female priests, i.e., the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches, as well as many conservative Protestant bodies. The "antiquated" views on women in the priesthood the author speaks of are appparenly still held by the overwhelming majority of the world's Christians.

I do not endorse the commentator's tone, btw. But they were right to foreground the fact the "enlightened" views of most present-day Americans with regard to women's ordination to the priesthood are very much a minority opinion among the faithful world-wide who are living today, not to mention the 100 or so generations of Christians who have come before us. If "God is doing a new thing" on this question, He is still in the very early stages of doing it. The "process of reception" on women's ordination has only just begun.

a Fort Worth deacon (transitional ;-) )

5/21/2007 10:49 AM  
Anonymous Mitch Smith said...

To A Fort Worth Deacon (transitional),
Have you talked to those millions of Christians World Wide? My experience is that when people experience the love of a priest male or female presupposed beliefs about the priests gender are often thrown out in place of compassion and love (btw...Christ talks a lot more about love than he does the priesthood). While I am taking a guess as to what school you went to, (although it really is down to one out of two) I would have thought that as a recent Nashotah grad, CPE might have taught you that.
As an outside observer of Fort Worth’s ordination process I see an inherit problem of only raising up folks who will support the party line, like yourself....And then I see a secondary problem of sending aspirants to seminary in places that re-enforce previously held beliefs. This is not formation, it is fortification.
Barbi, your words are moving... I am sorry that the Episcopal Church has abused so many people just like you. Please continue in the faith and continue building up places of love and mission. You will be prayed for, and you will always be welcome in my neck of the woods.
Fr. Mitchell Smith
Trinity Episcopal
Waterloo Iowa

5/21/2007 11:37 AM  
Anonymous gary werley said...

As a 20 years member of Trinity Episcopal Church in Fort Worth, Texas, I pray every night that TEC/ECUSA will see the "true light" and change its ways. I pray for discernment for Bishop Iker and Father Fred. I also am weary and ready to follow Bishop Iker wherever he leads us, hopefully quickly away from the TEC whose leaders no longer believe that Jesus Christ is the only way to heaven; who no longer believe that Jesus Christ, the living Lord, has the ability to change lives-including sexual appeal/desires. As a conservative, orthodox soldier of Jesus Christ I am going to do everything I can to convince my fellow brothers and sisters at Trinity that the TEC no longer believes that the Holy Bible is the Word of God. Gary Werley

It is not about women priest.

5/21/2007 1:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Incidentally, Fr Smith, before you give Nashotah House too much credit for having reinforced my already held beliefs, you should know that my first seminary degree was from a mainline Protestant seminary with a majority of female students and an incredibly diverse student body theologically. I then spent eight years as a doctoral student in the department of New Testament and Early Christian Lit at the venerable U of Chicago. (I was in the dissertation stage before beginning my Nashotah House studies, so my time there has not had the impact on me it might have on the opinions of some). My own "reaffirming" Anglo-Catholic convictions were thus formed during a theolgical education undertaken in the midst of a sea of theological liberalism, not cocooned away in Fort Worth or Nashotah.

And, btw, I did learn a great deal from doing CPE under a female supervisor, for whom I have the highest respect (she is a minister in the Church of Christ--Independent, btw). Women are clearly more than capable of handling an enormous variety of ministries in the Church, including many of those typically undertaken by Protestant ministers, and frequently women serve in such ministries with distinction. But ministerial competence in and of itself does not answer the question of whether or not Sacred Tradition allows women to be ordained into the sacred order of priests. The women's ordination question is not, after all, an "employment rights" issue or even a matter of particular women's talents and abilities. Rather it is a theological matter dealing with the God's revelation in Holy Scripture and Sacred Tradition and the discernment of the universal Church. And as I said, the process of reception on that question by the entire Church has only just begun (its not even settled in the Anglican Communion yet!).

a Fort Worth deacon (transitional)

5/21/2007 3:44 PM  
Blogger Liz+ said...

Anonymous -- Why are you so afraid to identify yourself?

Liz Zivanov+

5/21/2007 6:39 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Phil said: The same comment might be written in reverse by conservative Episcopalians, and the situation obtains in far more dioceses than ECUSA loyalists face in reverse. I'd be interested to hear whether Ms. Click's concerns extend to those people.

Phil, I think you're missing the main point of Ms. Click's essay. It's right there in her first couple of paragraphs: the loyal Episcopalians in Fort Worth have received no apparent, visible, tangible support from the Episcopal Church nor from mainstream Episcopalians throughout our church. I think she's correct there. Contrast that to the big show of solidarity when all those Network bishops showed up to support the self-martyred "Connecticut Six." The Episcopal Church has done nothing to show its support for those in Fort Worth who want to remain in TEC.

Mind you, I'm not privy to the inner workings of the church hierarchy. But I am guessing that our Presiding Bishops (past and present) have been loathe to "intervene" in Fort Worth or elsewhere on behalf of faithful Episcopalians. Contrast that to the media-grabbing actions of the Network, CANA, the AAC, etc.

I'm also struck by this contrast. The self-proclaimed "orthodox" all over this church are quick to declare their bishops "heretics" and "apostates" and seek alternative episcopal oversight. Have you noticed that (with only a couple of exceptions) Episcopalians in Network dioceses aren't doing the same? They're acknowledging their bishops' authority. In fact, as I understand it, Ms. Click's parish received Bishop Iker's regular episcopal visit just yesterday. Pained as they may be, they are working within the system. People like Ms. Click voice their disagreement, but none of them are calling him a "Devil Ho" [as some on StandFirm describe our Presiding Bishop] -- or even calling him a heretic or apostate. They are voicing their disagreement. That is all.

In my view, this speaks volumes about which people are the real inheritors of the Anglican ethos. The good Episcopalians of Fort Worth and elsewhere are. The schismatics in "Network" dioceses and parishes are behaving like congregationalists and Puritans.

Nowhere in Ms. Click's comments do I read the kind of anger and venom that I read in the blogs where you generally hang out. I was proud to publish her essay, and I hope others in the Episcopal Church will heed her words.

5/21/2007 7:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Barbi-
I have some words for you...Thank God you are in Texas, speaking out like a true Christian and Episcopalian. - and Texan (fearless). I hope many many people read your comments so that the world knows what your struggles there are I admire our bravery . Chris G

5/21/2007 8:00 PM  
Blogger texanglican said...

If I'm the "anonymous" you're inquiring about, Rev. Zivanov, there is no "fear" on my end. Just thought I would use the pseudonym "FW deacon (transitional)" as a mildly amusing play on the author's implication that there was something wrong with our diocese having more female permanent deacons that male ones. For the curious, I'm Randall Foster, chaplain at St Vincent's School in Bedford (we're attached to our cathedral church). In addition to being a transitional deacon, I am also a doctoral student at the U of Chicago presently working on my dissertation dealing with the rhetoric that St Athanasius used in defense of Nicene orthodoxy in his correspondence with other Church leaders. (The mainline Protestant seminary I took my Master's from before entering U of C was Brite Divinity School at TCU, btw). Hope this satisfies the curious. ;-)

PS--I didn't write the third comment from the top, so I can't speak to that "anonymous'" motives. God bless. RF (aka Fort Worth deacon--transitional)

5/21/2007 8:15 PM  
Anonymous Phil said...

Lisa - fair enough. I would like to point out that, although a conservative, one of the blogs where I generally hang out is Fr. Jake's. But, I assume that's not one of the ones you were talking about.

5/21/2007 8:56 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Yes, Phil, I know you visit Jake's place. But you comment much more often at SF and T19.

What do you mean when you say "Fair enough"? I'm quite curious.

5/21/2007 9:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Randall,

Did you only change from Latin to English for liturgy when Vatican II declared this acceptable? Do you also object to married clergy which the RC reject or married bishops which the Orthodox reject? Or were you convinced by arguments from tradition of the ancient church and reason and tradition by Anglican reformers? And if so, then why has the scholarship on women in the New Testament over the past thirty years not shifted your perspective on both the evolution of holy orders (no one was a "priest" in the first centuries) and the diverse leadership of women in the New Testament writings and beyond?
Women's ordination has never been only about competence and experience or an ecclesiastical ERA. Thank you, Barbi, for your helpful insights on Fort Worth and the community of many exiles. Rebecca

5/22/2007 8:59 AM  
Anonymous Phil said...

Lisa, what I meant by “fair enough” is that if the point of Ms. Click’s article is that ECUSA is not providing her support against the diocese, then perhaps that’s right. Though I started to object, I also noted that you recognized there were exceptions to your picture of progressive faithfulness to Network bishops. Pittsburgh is a prominent example.

There’s a thoughtful group of people at Jake’s. I actually comment there far more than at T19.

5/22/2007 11:53 AM  
Anonymous Richard W. said...

Gary what are you waiting for, if you think the Episcopal Church is apostate and you are weary of it, please leave and go find a non- denominational fundamentalist church home that believes the old ways are the best ways since that sounds like what so many of you conservatives want.

It would be refreshing if 815 would speak out about the likes of +Iker, +Duncan, +Schofield, et al. and invite them to go find another church where they can be at peace and leave the rest of us sinners to find our way through God's kingdom.

5/23/2007 11:14 AM  
Blogger Liz+ said...

Thanks for identifying yourself, Randall. It makes it so much easier to have names for others in the discussion. Your dissertation topic provides some good context for your point of view.

Rebecca has some good questions for you. I'll hope you'll answer them at some point.

5/23/2007 3:06 PM  
Anonymous TomB said...

Well, Barbi, I too am in the Diocese of fort Worth. I was 'lured' into the Episcopal church by a certain set of beliefs taught in my confirmation classes about 35 years ago. Now the leadership of ECUSA (or should I say TEC) has decided that those beliefs are wrong, and to remain Episcopalian, I must change my beliefs to match theirs. Certainly many folks can do that, but don't pretend that the ones who cannot are the ones who are at fault here. That is disingenuous. I fully understand the pressures of modern PC America, and do not fault you or ECUSA for bowing to them, but I will hang onto the ones that ECUSA taught me three decades or so ago. At this point in time, the only reason I am still an Episcopalian (and not in some odd Anglican parish, or even Roman) is that Bishop Iker has taken a stand and not followed the (you?) revisionists. Sad that we cannot coexist. Now we have to come to some understanding of that worldly stuff, like property.

Is it fair for TEC to keep the decades worth of tithing my wife and I have done based on the historical beliefs, when they are the ones to abandon that historical faith? Isn't that a 'bait and switch'?

5/23/2007 11:03 PM  
Blogger Barbi Click said...

TomB, I am curious: what set of beliefs "lured" you in to the Episcopal Church -the Nicene Creed? the Apostles creed? your baptismal vows? the New commandment? Which one of these has changed?
I do not know what your "historical faith" incorporates, but I would think that the creeds, the vows, the New Commandment and the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral adopted in 1886 are all fairly historical and summarizes nicely the core values of The Episcopal Church.

5/24/2007 12:59 PM  
Anonymous TomB said...

Actually, Barbi, the rational understanding of the biblical heritage with common sense views of Christianity were what caused me to shift from being a Methodist. But there was a historical tradition, a basic understanding of the biblical knowledge that was the foundation of that 'Episcopal' teaching. So, tell me, can you honestly say that the foundational understandings that were present when I went through confirmation is present today? Can you honestly say that you have the same understanding of those historical beliefs? Or do you believe that the 'faith of our fathers' was misguided, and that Inclusiveness is the primary message of Christianity, not redemption and salvation? (guess you have to believe there is something in humanity that REQUIRES redemption first) Do you honestly believe that the 'Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral' members of 1886' would embrace your new views? Tell you what, we don't even have to go that far back! How about the Lambeth 98 resolution 1.10? Surely you remember that, can you honestly say that is not a 'historical belief' that you find offensive and wish to abandon?

5/24/2007 10:11 PM  
Anonymous TomB said...

Barbi, don't get me wrong, I firmly believe that the 'new Episcopalians' (or most of them, anyway, not some of the leadership) firmly believe the things that we all recite on Sundays. The issue, I think, is the interpretation of the bible. The 'revisionists' believe they know more now than the authors about the human condition, so they are more able to interpret the message of Jesus. I happen to think that the folks that wrote the bible were CHOSEN and that despite their 'primitive', 'ignorant' views of the world, they would not have been CHOSEN if they could not represent the views of our Savior.

5/24/2007 10:16 PM  
Blogger Barbi Click said...

TomB, I can honestly say that I am only human. I cannot begin to judge what you think or believe. You have made it quite clear that you do not beleive as I do. So be it. I try to live a life according to what I perceive to be God's will for me. And I can only hope and pray, as did Thomas Merton, that because I desire so truly to do the will of God that by my desire alone, God will be pleased no matter how many times I fail to live fully into that will. I am sure that the same may be said of you.
I don't really like labels...I have no need for the terms reasserter, revisionist, New or Old Episcopalian...if we are all One in the body of Christ, then that is all we are, no less than that. Humans inspired by God wrote the Holy Scriptures; humans inspired by God deemed this one or that necessary to the whole or less than necessary; humans inspired by God read and interprete these same Words. May we all continue to be inspired by God and may that in itself be pleasing to God.

5/25/2007 10:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just don't understand why those on the "Traditionalist" side think that the person next to them in the pew always has to agree with them EXACTLY ON EVERY POINT OF THE BIBLE. I CAN ASSURE YOU THAT for the most part, the same people with liberal views have been sitting next to you in the Episcopal Church pew for years, even in Fort Worth. The "NEW EPISCOPALIANS" are not new at all! And the more conservative people have been sitting next to me (a liberal). These people HAVE NOT CHANGED THEIR MINDS about what they believe. Some of the people next to me in the pew, even though they don't share some of my views, are my good friends! The only thing that has changed is the balance of power in the House of Bishops and the House of Deputies. We as a people are still the SAME CHURCH, created as part of the EPISCOPAL CHURCH. If the Fort Worth conservatives leave the Episcopal Church, the balance of liberal and conservative views the Episcopal Church has had for many many years will be gone. IS IT REALLY CONSERVATIVE TO ADVOCATE A SPLIT? Keep in mind that the LITERAL meaning of the word CONSERVATIVE is "RESISTANCE TO CHANGE." Joining another branch of the Anglican communion would be quite a change indeed, one that I think could be the straw that broke the camel's back for many lost in the middle of the political spectrum. Jesus said to "Love one another." I do not think it is loving of anyone to say to a member of Christ's body, "I have no need of you," which is what Bishop iker will be saying if he decides to leave the Episcopal Church.

As to the scriptures, of course they were written by people who were inspired by God. But I also know that those ancient writers had NO WAY of knowing what our modern lives would be like. They were speaking about the world from the conditions that they knew, after all, none of them had a desk with computer and email as we do today. I think the REAL question is DO PEOPLE HAVE A RIGHT TO READ AND INTERPRET THE BIBLE FOR THEMSELVES, including those who accept more conservative or liberal views? The Episcopal stance is that THEY DO, but if conservatives can interpret, so can the liberals. We as Episcopalians share liturgy, prayers, and the written words of the BIBLE, and as I see it we believe that individual Bible interpretation is truly personal.
-Sarah

5/27/2007 9:38 PM  
Blogger David said...

Lisa reminds us that, "the loyal Episcopalians in Fort Worth have received no apparent, visible, tangible support from the Episcopal Church nor from mainstream Episcopalians throughout our church."

And this is true of loyal Episcopalians in all of the so-called "Network" dioceses. Being a neighbor of Barbi's over in the Dio of Dallas, I know of whence I speak (tho' I'm willing to admit they have it even worse over in +Iker's territory).

Quite frankly, it's extremely emotionally wearing to be an outcast amongst the "reasserters," and if I wasn't a member of a large, supportive parish here, I'd be long gone.

And if we don't get some relief in a few more years, I'm fairly certain I'll be drifting farther & farther away from any active participation anyway...

5/29/2007 2:39 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

David, thanks for giving me a chance to expand. Yes, I know it's not just true of Fort Worth, but of all the "Network" dioceses. I correspond with several folks in other schismatic dioceses, and my heart grieves for all of you. Honestly, it's hard for me to imagine the emotional and spiritual toll this takes on you folks.

But here's my question for you – and I've asked it in various venues. What can regular folks like me do for the individuals and parishes stranded in dissident dioceses? Or what can organizations like The Episcopal Majority do for you?

I believe many of us are just waiting for you folks to tell us what we can do beyond prayer. Do you need grassroots support for some initiative to Executive Council? Then craft that initiative, and tell us how to support it! Do you need our bishops to do something that could support you? Then tell us what "it" is! Do you want to hold some event, and ask others to attend from nearby dioceses in a show of support?

I don't know what would be helpful. But I would like to help. And I think there are many others like me. We just need you to tell us what is truly helpful. What kind of "relief" would make a difference?

Personally, I grieve at what you all must be enduring. But I need you to get your heads together and tell folks like me – and organizations like The Episcopal Majority – what would help.

5/29/2007 6:49 PM  
Anonymous Tom B said...

Amen, Barbi. We are all trying to do what we hope is God's will. Some of us just think we have already been told a portion of it, and that the 'newer understanding' is contrary to what seems plain to us (and the historical interpretation). Sigh. Not sure coexistence is possible. Have good (life long) friends in a New England Diocese who are probably going to be displaced from their church over their beliefs (beliefs that I think were 'accepted' when it was built and grew), and wish there were some way for both sides to simply say peace and let the divide occur without the legal wrangling that is happening...... Surely there is a way to make this 'full of grace'?

6/03/2007 5:36 PM  
Anonymous Tom B said...

David, why do you think that the 'loyal' Episcopalians will be mistreated? What has Bishop Stanton done that causes you to think he will? We need to understand that there is certainly a difference of biblical understanding here that is causing a schism. It is going to happen. We (on both sides) need to work together to make it a 'grace full' event, showing that we are in fact trying to be faithful disciples of Christ and that we can act in love.

6/03/2007 5:44 PM  

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