St. Vincent's Continues to Grow
We have continued to see new faces at St. Vincent's in the last year. These are people who are looking for traditional Christian worship and teaching. They continue to show up on Sunday mornings, and frequently mention the sound Biblical teaching of the cathedral staff and the staunch defense of Christian orthodoxy by our diocesan leadership as the reasons they have come. Many of them have driven miles to join us to praise God and receive the sacraments in a faithful, orthodox parish.
I am aware of no members of the parish who have recently left us on account of our diocese's first vote to sever our ties to the General Convention of the Episcopal church last November. I suspect this is because people who are members of the parish today have already made a conscious decision to be part of a community where "the faith once delivered to the saints" is proclaimed without alteration or compromise. People at St. Vincent's are extremely well-informed about events going on at the national level. We routinely discuss these matters in our Adult Christian Education hour. Most of our parishioners are also quite aware that our pastor, Dean Ryan Reed, is the chairman of the diocesan Standing Committee and is a steadfast supporter of our bishop in the present crisis. In fact, Dean Reed has co-signed many of the strong, faithful statements in defense of the Truth issued by Bishop Iker on behalf of our diocese in the last few years. In short, there can be no doubt that our cathedral church and its clergy stand four-square behind our bishop and we are strongly in favor of ratifying the "separation" amendments to our diocesan constitution that may be finally ratified in 2008. It is clear that the faithful stand of our diocese and cathedral parish in defense of traditional, orthodox Christian doctrine and morals and against the heterodox stands of "the general convention church" has resulted in growth and vitality at St. Vincent's Cathedral, not the division and departures that many on the Episcopal Left had predicted.
One further note: There will be some, no doubt, who will point out that the greater Fort Worth area has experienced population growth in recent years and who will speculate that this increase in ASA at St. Vincent's is merely the result of that natural growth. However, population growth alone does not tell the whole story. In fact the population in the area immediately south of the cathedral has changed in such a way as to make our ASA growth in recent years even more remarkable. The demographics of the neighborhoods less than a mile south of our church (the neighborhoods in Hurst, Bedford and Euless immediately south of Pipeline Road) have radically changed over the last decade, becoming increasingly dominated by Spanish-speaking immigrants recently arrived in our area from Mexico. Unfortunately, we do not have the capacity at present to provide Spanish-language services at the cathedral. As a result we have gained few new members from those immigrant-rich areas immediately south of the cathedral in recent years. If we can find a way to reach and serve those new residents of our area more effectively, I am sure our ASA will grow even more rapidly in the future!