Thursday, April 24, 2008

But they would not listen (they're not listening still)

We recently came across a letter from the 1990 Vestry of Good Shepherd, Sioux Falls, in response to Diocesan and Episcopal News Service "dialogue" about the church's teaching and practice.

So sad that they (and many other Episcopalians) were ignored. And how funny that the Diocese of South Dakota keeps holding "Sharing our Story" workshops at Convention every year, when the Episcopal Organization has destroyed our ability to give any kind of coherent Christian testimony.

Anyway, here's the letter from early '90:

TO THE EDITOR [of Episcopal News Service]:

We’re a group beginning to prepare ourselves for the Decade of Evangelism (L.I.F.E.), but we’re feeling somewhat defensive as we set out to tell our story. We accept that our authority is based on Scripture, Sacraments, Credal Statements and the Episcopacy, and is brought to us through the Book of Common Prayer. We look to the Episcopacy to “carry on the apostolic work of leading, supervising and uniting the Church’’

Our concern is that it appears that we have one bishop speaking out and in a way that neither represents Scripture nor the majority conclusion of our General Convention. We were outraged at the appearance of the practicing homosexual priest and his “partner” on a recent talk show — this priest having been ordained by Bishop Spong, who seems to he the self—appointed spokesman for the Episcopal Church.

In the 1979 Actions of the General Convention; “Sexuality of Ordinands” (A—53s): .. .we believe it is not appropriate for this Church to ordain a practicing homosexual, or any person who is engaged in heterosexual relations outside of marriage.”

Reference on the show was also made to Bishop Spong’s desire to “rewrite the Ten Commandments for the modern day” — the priest stating that there is “no adultery — only infidelity”; as well as a very flippant treatment of Scripture (1 Corinthians 6:9, I Timothy 1:8—11).

While we realize that reacting to such performances only prolongs a bad incident, nevertheless, we believe it would help our evangelism efforts if our bishop and the Presiding Bishop would affirm and proclaim at every opportunity our Church’s stand (based on Scripture, Tradition and Reason) on today’s social issues — the ones that plague the laity as we try to tell our story to the unchurched and the lapsed. We need the authority of the bishop’s words (and actions) to help us counteract the often—heard statement, “no one knows what we stand for”.

Joni Miller, Shirley Clark, Irma Johnson, Jini Haggardt, Polly Gregg, Margaret Wright, Lloyd Olson, Inez Olson, Bev Berry.

Most of these folks have gone on to be with the Lord, but a few are still here. I give thanks for their witness.


Anonymous said...

"They would not listen, they're not listening still; perhaps they never will..." Those song lyrics by Don MacLean are appropriate for TEC leadership. Remember how Jesus said He was sending his followers out as sheep among wolves, and that they should shake from their feet the dust of those towns that would not listen? There comes a time when we must choose. What do we give up by leaving? Stuff; material things which mean little in an eternal, Spiritual context. What do we save? Our eternal souls. As Joshua said,"As for me & my house, we will serve the Lord." I know whom I have believed. TEC believes nothing, stands for nothing, and has abandoned everything.

Anonymous said...

Amen to that!

The Oblate

Anonymous said...

Yes, we know that "perhaps they never will" listen. We know that as we persevere on our Lord's behalf, we likely will find those who will surprise us with their lack of support and yet, I believe we will be even more surprised by the blessings we receive from those who remain our brothers and sisters in Christ. We are grateful to you, Tim+, for your encouragement and inspiration, which keep our morale going and help us continue to worship our Lord in the only way that the Holy Scripture dictates.

The Novice Oblate

Alice C. Linsley said...

Joni Miller, Shirley Clark, Irma Johnson, Jini Haggardt, Polly Gregg, Margaret Wright, Lloyd Olson, Inez Olson, and Bev Berry.

May God bless them all. May they all rejoice in the presence of the Saints in LIght.

Perpetua said...

Would it be too off track to tell us about where each one of the signatories worships now?

TLF+ said...

Hi, Perpetua - those who are still living are still with Good Shepherd, Sioux Falls.

David Handy+ said...

Marvelous illustration of a sad reality. Hmmm. A letter of protest from early 1990, 18 years ago, and things in TEC have only gotten worse. Much, much worse.

On the other hand, they have gotten a whole lot better for the parish of Good Shepherd, Sioux Falls, since you arrived in late 2004, Father Tim.

What we are seeing is continuing and progressive polarization in TEC and the other "mainline" denominations. The darkness is getting ever darker and more ominous. But the outposts of light, like Good Shepherd, burn all the brighter in comparison.

Keep up the good work. And remember, they didn't listen to Jeremiah either. Alas, most of them didn't even listen to Jesus himself.

Great Grumpy Z. said...

Being an old (in more ways than one!) South Dakotan, it is good to hear that there is one Parish in South Dakota that is holding fast to the "apostolic teachings handed down." If my wife and I come through SF on our way to the midwest this summer, we will look forward to worshipping with you.

Ward & Elynor Z

TLF+ said...

The Lord bless you travels, Ward & Elynor. We would enjoy the gift of your presence some Sunday!