Tuesday, May 29, 2007

A Serious Priorities Problem

On earlier posts, we noted how the Episcopal Diocese of South Dakota had nothing to say in response to recent flooding, even though a TEC parish and its people suffered losses in the disaster.

So, what's important to the diocese? The following just arrived in Episcopal Church/Clergy email from the offices of the Diocese of South Dakota:

Episcopal clergy and laity are invited to assist important research to locate former Lutheran ministers, lay and ordained, who now make their spiritual home in the pews and pulpits of the Episcopal Church. This research is concerned with gaining an accounting of the many lgbt persons who left, or were removed from, the lay and ordained ministries of the Lutheran church, the ELCA or its predecessor bodies, as well as those whose pathway to ministry in the Lutheran church was blocked, due to issues related to orientation or gender identity. Some of those missing from Lutheran ministries may now be in Episcopal churches. If you know lay members in your local congregation, or clergy within the Episcopal Church, who may be interested in this research, please have them contact (deleted). More information about this research is available on the web page of Lutherans Concerned/North America at www(deleted) .

For those who might not know, "lgbt" = "lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered."

That's right. It's more important to the Episcopal Diocese of South Dakota to support Lutheran lgbt entitlements than to care for Episcopalians in a state disaster area.

We'll leave the obvious "disaster area" jokes to you, dear readers.


Chip Johnson+, SF, CoJ said...

Surely the Lord delayeth His coming. Maranatha!

TLF+ said...

Reader "Sarah" asked us to post this...she sent it via our email"

You're right -- a strange setting of priorities. What we value, we
spend our time, energy, and money on.

I don't know much about the Episcopal diocese of South Dakota.

In your opinion, what should be the priorities there in that
diocese? On what should the diocesan leadership be spending their
time, energy, and money???

TLF+ said...

Sarah raises good questions. Chip+ posted on the "Which Way Forward?" thread about his efforts to establish ministry on the L/Dakota reservations. There is a proud (even if imperfect) history of that here, and resources need to be invested raising up vocations (especially lay leadership) on the reservations. At some point, a clergy-centric form of ministry displaced a long tradition of lay readers and local "helpers", and the results have not been good. Much of the work devolved to funerals and drive-up baptisms rather than actual community building.

I think a ministry of prayer and intercession could be an important part of Anglican work here. We will be a numerically small presence, but there are huge issues including: drought, water resources, drug and alcohol abuse, alternative and traditional energy development and others that should be lifted up intentionally by our witness. Too much of what goes on in TEC is like the old Pace Picante Sauce ads - "This stuff's made in New York City???"

oblate-bca said...

Sarah, The amazing thing here is....our Bishop in this diocese (South Dakota) is himself an American Indian with the Sisseton/ Wahpeton Sioux Tribe.

Anonymous said...

Who decided this is "important research?" With all of the real problems, both recent and historical that exist in this area, I can't think of anything at the moment that is less important to me. I did learn though what lgbt stands for. Whoopee. Mark Barker, Sioux Falls.

Anonymous said...

Trying to connect the dots here...as a former member of the Cathedral here in SD. There is a de-frocked (don’t know the term used for Lutheran pastors) former-Lutheran pastor who leads the GLBT group at the Cathedral. This group started at the Cathedral as “renters” using the building for their own services - but have spent the last couple years fully integrating themselves into every crook and cranny, committee, guild, etc. of the Cathedral. One couple recently left the church because the Sunday morning bible study turned into confrontation sessions with GLBT people from this group showing up suddenly when scriptures pertaining to “orthodox” views on the subject of alternative lifestyles were on the agenda. The two have become one and bishop +Creighton - who started out sympathetic to their “civil rights” cause - have now found himself at their mercy. What was once the largest parish and congregation in the diocese is in peril because of all of this....with a long list of deans and interim deans going in and out through the revolving door at the Cathedral over the past 8 years. This bishops’ cathedral: Membership down. Stewardship flat. Young families gone. Child daycare center closed. Sunday school practically non-existant. Canon to the Ordinary retired and not being replaced (covered by a retired priest now). Do the math.

Alice C. Linsley said...

That's interesting. My former parish in Lexington, KY was commandeered by gay rights activists who had been involved with a group that used our parish hall.

TLF+ said...

The New Testament church is meant to be a living organism - the body of Christ. Without discipline, it has no immune system. A simple, single-cell entity with a very limited, selfish agenda can destroy a body that does not protect itself.

As we seek to become a new expression of Christ's body here on the Plains, we need to learn well from our past failure and TEC's death, and get back to traditional Anglicanism's use of the Bible as our authority for teaching and practice.

Anonymous said...

Here's the chart for the cathedral in Sioux Falls. Looks like the high point in ASA -- 260 -- was reached in 2000.

The lowest ASA in the last 10 years is the last year of the chart. The ASA looks to be about 170 in 2005.

That is a loss in ASA of 34% in five years.