Our Diocesan convention is a week away. As a delegate, I must admit I am not looking forward to it at all. It is most likely that the second vote on the constitutional changes will pass by a large majority.
And so those of us who do not want to abandon our Church wait for the vote that will put us in no-man's land--not wishing to "leave" with the rest of the diocese (as if they could actually vote to remove an Episcopal Diocese out of the Episcopal Church) and not knowing how soon, if at all, the National Church will act to place some sort of presence here.
I feel two main emotions: sadness and frustration.
I'm sad because my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ no longer feel that they can worship with us.
I'm sad because our Bishop, who is supposed to visit all of his parishes, never visited Holy Family, although we repeatedly asked him when he was going to come.
I'm sad because when the vote passes, everyone around me will be rejoicing. I will not be.
I'm sad because my fellow Episcopalian professor now calls herself an Anglican, and there is now an unspoken barrier between us.
I'm frustrated by people who know little or nothing about the history of the Bible and the transmission of texts speaking of the "faith once delivered" as set in stone (as if it were some sort of moldy archaeological artifact!)
I'm frustrated because my theology is just as orthodox as theirs is, and in most areas certainly more Anglo-Catholic, and I'm getting tired of being labeled a heretic. The bishop said in a recent interview with our local ABC news affiliate that the Episcopal Church has "abandoned much of the Bible and its ethical teachings." This is, in a word, poppycock. I'm so tired of this refrain, "you disagree with me, therefore you're a heretic..."
The Bishop has said time and again that those of us who do not want to leave (although he puts it as those of us who want to "leave the diocese") will be allowed to do so, and he will not take our property. I want to think he is a man of his word.
In his pastoral letter, he states:
"Should the second reading of the Constitutional changes receive the necessary two thirds of each order voting affirmatively next month, this will mean that the Diocese is free to accept the invitation of the Province of the Southern Cone."
He also says that it may not be permanent--that (citing the old invalid comparison to the Dioceses of Southern States during the Civil War) if the Episcopal Church repents, the Diocese may return. Hmm. Don't hold your breath.
Already chinks in the armor have begun to show, and the vote may not be as overwhelming as last year's first vote. I have to be honest, though, if the vote doesn't pass, we'll still be in the same position of Limbo, with a Bishop who no longer wishes to pastor us, and we will continue to endure the same misery. Let's end this now and get back to our true mission--the Great Commission.
We could all use your prayers Friday and Saturday next.