Friday, July 17, 2009

Thanks, General Convention! (I'm already losing church members)

First departures already underway from Good Shepherd, Sioux Falls, due to the actions of The Episcopal Church leadership.

Lost a good Vestry member. At my request, he will be detailing his decision in a letter to be shared with the Vestry and sent on to the Diocese.

Lost at least 3 young families and a bunch of kids.

A couple of these losses are families that were the first fruits of members taking the risk of evangelism - this is going to hurt morale very badly here.

One of them said, "I just can't see myself inviting other people, knowing what the denomination is really doing. So how can I stay?"

Don't think I will be offering much commentary today. Still just taking it in and taking it to God.

28 comments:

Jill C. said...

Praying in Texas . . .

Ed McNeill said...

I'm so sorry. I went through the losses in 2003. I understand both the pain and the frustration of watching what you've worked for flushed away so carelessly. I left TEC some 18 weeks ago, maybe 19. Partly I left to establish a safe landing place for people who have to leave. I will pray for you.

Tregonsee said...

Prayers for all concerned. Even after three years in CANA, now ACNA, I still pray for the previous TEC churches I attended. One solidly reappraising, the other best described at "The Shrine of Laodicea." Both large, 800-1000 communicants even now, so they have, with effort, been able to tighten their belts.

Lina said...

O Lord, grant that I may meet all that this coming day brings to me with spiritual tranquility. Grant that I may fully surrender myself to Thy holy Will.

At every hour of this day, direct and support me in all things. Whatsoever news may reach me in the course of the day, teach me to accept it with a calm soul and the firm conviction that all is subject to Thy holy Will.

Direct my thoughts and feelings in all my words and actions. In all unexpected occurances, do not let me forget that all is sent down from Thee.

Grant that I may deal deal straight forwardly and wisely with every menber of my family, neither embarassing nor saddening anyone.

O lord, grant me the strength to endure the fatique of the coming day and the the events that take place during it. Direct my will and teach me to pray, to believe, to hope, to be patient, to forgive, and to love. Amen.

from Orthodox Daily Prayers St. Tikhon's Seminary Press.

The Archer of the Forest said...

You all will be in my prayers. I was at a parish in 2003 that lost some, so I know what that's like.

TLF+ said...

Brothers and sisters in Christ, thanks for these kind comments, prayers and encouragements out of your own painful experiences. Bless you.

Lina, that Orthodox prayer is wonderful - the line about the impact on the family really caught my attention. I could feel my ghastly mood spreading, and this prayer helped me turn my face to God and correct that.

Anonymous said...

You and all the other faithful will be in our prayers. My wife and I have been through this pain. She is a cradle Episcopalian and was even more heartbroken than I when we had to conclude that the Episcopal church had simply become too toxic an environment, much as we loved our orthodox parish. The parish had gone through the 40 days of discernment process developed by the Falls Church in Virginia but decided to try to stay as an orthodox witness. I pray for them every day, even as more and more of them come to realize that there is no place for them in the Episcopal church and do their own wandering in the wilderness... Some to ACNA and some to other denominations.
I strongly recommend the 40 days of discernment process to you, if not as a guide to whether or in what manner you can remain in the Episcopal church, but also as a guide to what we as Anglicans should be standing for. Warning though... Such a study may result in a movement of the Spirit, and the Spirit goes where HE will... Not necessarily where you WANT him to go.
May the Peace of the Lord be with you in your pain.

Fr. Darin Lovelace+ said...

Fr. Fountain,

Grace and peace - with extra doses of the latter.

We've corresponded before - from time to time. Like Fr. Ed McNeill, I'm a recent departure from TEC (Maundy Thursday). Now with Bishop Guernsey and ACNA. It was so very painful to leave, as many friends remain.

I pray for you and your people, and for those who are so burdened of conscience that they cannot stay. I know that burden well, and can only say that the freedom I feel now helps push back against the pain that surfaces from time to time.

I pray that you, as you remain, may procaim the Gospel boldly, and without fear - as I know you will continue to do. God will honor your faithfulness, even in Exile.

Your brother in Christ,
Fr. Darin Lovelace+
St. David's Anglican
Durant, Iowa

Steve said...

Fr. Timothy,

You and your parish are in my prayers this day and in the days to come. Know that you are not alone. Even though I am no longer in TEC, we are His body, one in the Spirit, and claim His promise to those who are faithful.

May the Lord bless you and keep you. May He make face to shine upon you, and give you peace.

Grace and peace,

Steve Lake

Jim Workman said...

I add my prayers. May God sustain you and guide you.

And I'm holding my breath where I serve--Diocese of Upper SC.

Larswife said...

My immediate thought on seeing the headline picture was something along the lines of the path of destruction that is TEO, but then I came across these verses, which I think are much more appropriate:

“When the whirlwind passes by, the wicked is no more,But the righteous has an everlasting foundation.” (Prov 10:25)

“Scarcely shall they be planted, Scarcely shall they be sown, Scarcely shall their stock take root in the earth, When He will also blow on them, And they will wither, And the whirlwind will take them away like stubble.” (Isa 40:24)

“Behold, a whirlwind of the LORD has gone forth in fury— A violent whirlwind! It will fall violently on the head of the wicked.” (Jer 23:19)

Come whirlwind of the Lord, O come!

Miss Sippi said...

It's so much harder to leave a good parish led by a believing priest. Although I've ended up in the OCA, it hasn't been easy and every time I drive past my former church my heart hurts. They remain in my prayers and you do too.

Anonymous said...

Fr. Tim,

You and your parish and the rest of the traditional / conservative orthodox will be remembered in my prayers as well as my parish (All Souls' Anglican Church & Mission) in Okinawa, Japan. I was one of the two final candidates considered for the rector position at Trinity in Pierre back in 2005. It was, I was told, that the two factions in the congregation could not agree and so they dropped both of the two of us candidates and basically started over.

There are many fine Christians in South Dakota and I regularly remember Trinity and the other Conservative parishes in S.D. in my prayers.

YBIC,
Fr. Larry Kirchner
Rector - All Souls; Anglican Church & Mission

David Handy+ said...

I too will be praying for you, Tim. As a Sioux Falls native, I still have extended family members there (three cousins), as well as various friends. I know from experience too that it's hard to take the losses of good leaders and valued members of the parish when they're not mad at you, but rather at the denomination instead. It seems so unfair; and it is.

Please pardon an aside to Fr. Darin above, in case he checks back in on this thread. I'm sorry I couldn't access your Private Message at Stand Firm. Why don't you send me an email at "fr.davidhandy@yahoo.com"?

YBIC,
David+

cmsigler said...

Fr. Timothy,

My heart is weeping, and my soul is praying for you, and *all* your parishioners. But you will make it! He loves and cares for all the faithful. In his time, in the providence of his will, all will be brought to peace and joy. God bless you.

Clemmitt

Wilf said...

You & yours are in my prayers.

I am also struck with grief.

heartafire said...

How strongly wounded by GC09 these parishioners must feel, to be able to leave such a truly wonderful priest, Fr. Timothy.

I am so sorry for you, in your grief, and I am so encouraged by your response to this, in turning to the Lord. I am praying and fasting specifically for you, for the rest of this day.

Scott (left in 2003) said...

Tim - remember, God owns them. Not you, not GS, not the diocese, not the heretical Episcopal Church. Wish them godspeed and keep doing what you're doing.

TLF+ said...

Thanks for praying, fasting and all the encouragement!

Scott - absolutely. Am still going to throw darks and shoot pool (or is it shoot darts and throw pool?) with the departing vestry guy.

These are good folks and I know that God will bless them with good church homes, as well as bless the church homes with them! And I can at least know that we taught them well enough to recognize the rot.

Anonymous said...

... and then came a whirlwind, but the Lord was not in the whirlwind, and after the whirlwind, a still, small voice.

May you find that still, small voice.

Anonymous said...

Not much to say that hasn't already been expressed by others.

Praying for you and your parish family during this difficult time. May God give you the strength to deal with what lies ahead and His peace that passes all understanding.

An orthodox brother in Christ

John (Ad Orientem) said...

You have my deepest sympathies. I am not Episcopalian though some family members are. Watching this is tragic beyond words. Sadly I must confess that, while you may not want to hear this, I think those leaving are probably doing the right thing at this point. There comes a time when must face facts. This battle is over, and your side lost. Remaining in an apostate church can not be justified through either scripture or the early Church Fathers both of which strongly condemn communion with heresy. Please be assured of my prayers...

ICXC NIKA
John

Anonymous said...

You have my deepest sympathies as well. I hope you will document all those who are leaving and send copies of their letters to the Archbishop of Canterbury, as well as to The Bishop Nazir-Ali of Rochester. All of your voices deserve to be heard at their tables.

robroy said...

I wish that I was in Sioux Falls. I would definitely be hanging with you!

Here is a video that might give encouragement:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uHdcyue0bSw

My strength is almost gone
how can I carry on
if I can't find You
and as the thunder rolls
I barely hear You whisper through the rain
"I'm with you"
and as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise
the God who gives and takes away

I lift my eyes onto the hills
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
the maker of heaven and earth
I lift my eyes onto the hills
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
the maker of heaven and earth



Before you know it, a sense of God's wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It's wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life. (The Message's version of "The peace that passeth all...")

TLF+ said...

robroy - that song is on the Christian radio so much that I had let it become "muzak." Thank you for calling my attention back to it... what a message to my heart! It is so true to this time.

And I know it will be a blessing to my wife as well. Both of us grew up in The Episcopal Church, were married in it, kids were baptized... aw, you know the lament. It is going up all over the country right now. So much blessing given away for a pot of beans.

Thank you for your message. It is an encouragement!

Marcia King said...

I am an Episcopal priest in the South who is staying in TEC as a missionary in and to our dying church. It's so hard sometimes, especially after the last 2 weeks but there are still people in the pews who need to hear about Jesus. May God bless you as you minister to God's people in SD. You are in my prayers as I hope we are in yours.

TLF+ said...

Thanks, Marcia. You will be in my prayers and I am grateful for all the saints around the church who are lifting the current distress up to the One who can bring life out of death.

Smarry said...

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___________________
Smarry
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