It's been a whirlwind few days. Saturday, after the convention, we all met at Holy Family to console, be consoled, and pray. We talked a lot about our fears, our hopes, and our sense of loss. Afterwards I spent some quiet time setting up for the Second Sunday in Advent service. The familiar task of filling the candles, setting up the altar, and preparing the elements was very soothing to a soul troubled by the recent events.
Sunday morning we had what must have been a record attendance for a non-holiday Sunday for our two services. We almost ran out of wafers! Luckily some prudent Altar Guild member put out a reserve :-). I can't honestly say if it will last, but it was wonderful. The mood was optimistic and the fellowship grand. Father Keith gave a great homily about "How can we find peace--in the world, in the church, in our hearts" filled with his usual humor and thoughtfulness.
Well, towards the end of the service several press crews started showing up, including one from Univision. Ojalá que usted esté aquí, Padre Mickey, for we had no fluent Spanish speaker at the early service. (As a bit of humor, we delegates at the HF table at convention began to speak in Spanish after the vote, but my Spanish is very rusty.) All the more reason seriously to discern your calling, Padre; we need you here in the continuing Diocese of San Joaquin!
There was a piece in the L.A. Times that had some good things to say, including the last bit about Father Keith:
"Meanwhile, Axberg, Holy Family's rector since 2003, urged his congregation Sunday not to worry about the future. He told them about the convention votes and answered a few questions about steps likely to be taken by the national church. Finally, he asked them to pray for all involved in the diocese's continuing struggle, including for Schofield. First one, then all, rose to applaud their priest."
Now things are starting to settle down from the buzz over convention, but as the word spreads, some folks in other parishes (not delegates, but the people in the pews) are beginning to realize what this vote means, and they are asking questions and writing letters.
One last thing: you cannot know how much your support has meant to us. Father Jake has opened up his blog as a place for comfort and news, and reading your comments has done much to lift our spirits. Kristin, Paul, Diane, Padre Mickey, and others, thanks for dropping by and adding your words of support!
Personally, I feel most for the missions, who have no choice in this process, and whose clergy are appointed by the Bishop. They can be closed at his desire, and their buildings sold. I hope that this does not happen, but as parishes begin to place their assessments into accounts earmarked for the Episcopal Church, not the Province of the Southern Cone, the diocesan budget will feel the pinch.