Yes, this coverage is from Episcopal News Service (ENS), the official news outlet of The Episcopal Church. This is not from some "right wing blog" or any of the other excuses used by lying, gossip-mongering excuses for clergy here in South Dakota.
Go to the link and read the whole thing. Here are some lowlights:
The strongest public challenge to the closings to date has come from members of Christ Church, Red Shirt Table, who sent a six-page letter to Robertson dated September 10. Copies were also sent to members of South Dakota's Standing Committee, as well as national church officials. The letter was also circulated to local media.
In the letter, members of Christ Church said they were given a copy of Robertson's August 6 letter on September 5 and raised several "questions and concerns." Among them are:
A claim that Robertson "has not once crossed the threshold of Christ Episcopal Church, Red Shirt" for a visitation since he became bishop;
A question regarding the closing of "these particular churches when it is a reality that financial hardship and low attendance are real and the same for all the churches on all the reservations;"
A question as to whether other churches on other reservations will be closed;
A question as to "timing," wondering why the action is being taken just as a search is beginning for a new bishop; and
A suggestion that criterion used to judge church attendance across the Episcopal Church may not be "an accurate measure of success in Indian ministry."
"Indian ministry in the Episcopal Church is a uniquely rich and challenging arena understood by a very few in the Episcopal Church, clergy and laity combined," stated the members of Christ Church. "Abandoning the challenge at this point would only result in deepened pain and suffering. It will be experienced by our people as yet another act of racism and sin."
The letter also notes that Robertson is "our first Native American diocesan bishop" and solicits his thoughts on "why our people are not coming to church on a regular basis."
Christ Church leaders also said that "the expectation that members can or will drive 50 miles roundtrip for communion is ludicrous and is a poorly thought plan given the high cost of gas.
"Today we stand with our other Lakota Episcopal brothers and sisters and say enough is enough. Something has to be done and we all need to be in conversation about it."
The letter also includes a detailed history of Christ Church, Red Shirt Table, suggesting it is still a viable center of a living faith community.
"With all due respect to your office, you would know all of this past and current history if you had found the time to be with us. We would meet and converse while breaking bread together. Sadly and inexplicably, this has not yet occurred."
When asked to comment on the letter, South Dakota Diocesan Administrator Randy Barnhardt said the bishop's office had not received a copy.
Lorri Ann Two Bulls, a member of Christ Church, reported that the certified letter sent to Robertson "was returned and had been refused by the bishop's office."
Barnhardt subsequently confirmed that the diocese had refused to receive the letter.