Monday, February 09, 2009

Et Tu, Brutus?

Well, there was a Special Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth this Saturday: Now, there’s a new diocese, a new Bishop and a new Standing Committee and the old one is swept under the rug for the time being.

It was one of those God moves in mysterious ways moments when, a bit later, I found myself talking on the phone to my friend Brian, (Who just happens to be the Vice President of the House of Deputies of the Episcopal Church of the United States of America). Brian runs The Episcopal Church of the Resurrection outside Spokane, Washington. ECOR is what I think of when I think of an Episcopal church. Anyone is welcome, and all feel welcome. Whether you’re rich or poor, black, white, brown or green, smart or a fool, well dressed or wearing rags, you’re welcome there; pretty everyone who attends regularly feels that way and so do the guests.

I recalled a sermon he had given many Christmas Eves ago. He started the service in full, high Church regalia, but slipped out right before the sermon. The place was packed with regular attendees and C & E Christians, (Christmas and Easter). Then out walked Brian in shorts and a polo shirt. Little blue haired church ladies about keeled over; it was priceless…

He told a story of visiting the south while on Church business, when he decided to go to a Sunday service at a local Episcopal Church. He was wearing the same things he was wearing as he now gave the sermon. And when he walked into the church… Everyone was in suits and ties and dresses. No one greeted him. No one looked at him, except for sideways vaguely disapproving glances throughout the service. No one shook his hand at The Peace. Brian related this and spoke of the Episcopal Church that we know, of the welcoming, equipping, inclusive, open church that we know: the place he’d visited wasn’t like that.

At Trinity, there are a few black people, Hispanics, a handful of gay folk, and everyone else is white and upper middle class. To be fair, your color doesn’t seem to matter that much, but still... One of the things we've noticed about north Texas is the diversity - It is much more vibrantly diverse than anywhere else I've lived; so why aren't more of these folks in my church: Why isn’t there the diversity and vibrant membership that I’ve seen in so many Episcopal churches throughout my whole life?

The Presiding Bishop is wonderful; I heard her introduce herself over and over, to young and old alike with a warm, "Hi, I'm Katherine." Ted Gullick, the new Interim Bishop of Fort Worth, also seems genuinely warm and very cool. He also the Bishop of Kentucky, and I know nothing about that diocese or him, but he seems genuinely cut of the that I am used to as an Episcopalian. I pray that he will indeed bring some badly needed change and openness to a diocese that has been dark and dire for far too long. Iker is gone, and that is a huge blessing. He is no Episcopalian and neither is his raft of nasty little minions; I bid them and theirs bon riddance and wish them well, somewhere else...

I am glad that the change has brought a new guard, but I still pray for yet more change.

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