"The Preachers chiefly shall take heed that they teach nothing in their preaching, which they would have the people religiously to observe and believe, but that which is agreeable to the Doctrine of the Old Testament and the New, and that which the Catholick Fathers and Ancient Bishops have gathered out of that Doctrine." A proposed canon of Elizabeth I, 1571

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Location: Bedford, Texas, United States

I am a presbyter in the diocese of Fort Worth, Texas (Anglican Church in North America). I serve as Chaplain at St. Vincent's School and as a canon of St. Vincent's Cathedral Church in Bedford, Texas. In addition to my parish duties and teaching Religion classes in the school I am also the Middle School Social Studies teacher.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

"Guard the deposit entrusted to you": Confirmations and Baptisms at St. Vincent's Cathedral

While I am sure that there are people on the theological Left who would love to console themselves with the thought that orthodox Anglicanism will die out over time and be replaced by more "enlightened attitudes," I have bad news for them today: we are growing like gangbusters at St. Vincent's Cathedral! Today we had a "standing room only" congregation for Bishop Iker's annual visitation. There were twenty confirmations and six baptisms. And don't forget the numerous transfers into the parish from elsewhere over the last few months. So friends, orthodox Anglicanism in North Texas ain't goin' away any time soon! The future is bright as we prepare to realign with the Southern Cone in November.

One of the confirmands this morning was my eighty-two year old father, Randy Foster (below). May God bless all the newly-baptised and the newly-confirmed in their life in Christ. Amen.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I have bad news for them today: we are growing like gangbusters at St. Vincent's Cathedral! "

This is the part that I don't understand - why would you think any of us who wish to remain with TEC would wish you ill will? Or wish that your numbers decrease?

It is this very attitude that proves to me that you view this as a competition - you want a winner and a loser. How very sad.

All TEC folks want is to continue to worship in the faith we have chosen and hopefully in the church we attend. We do not hope or desire that those who do not agree and wish to move to the Southern Cone fail.

Your attitude is certainly unbecoming for a priest! Do you believe our Lord would have made such a comment about a fellow Christian?

4:02 PM  
Blogger texanglican said...

Anon, I think liberals in TEC wish us ill because PB Schori and her minions are suing faithful parishes who leave TEC for all of their property and assets--and have clearly threatened to sue us as well. They can't pretend this isn't an effort to seriously damage the ministries of the orthodox. Imagine the results of the hoped-for victory of the pseudo-diocese of Fort Worth (which will be set up within weeks of our November vote--a shadow bishop is all lined up to go!) over St Vincent's in court would have on my school--it would be destroyed overnight. Many, perhaps most, of our parents would not keep their kids in a TEC affliated school after such a vicious act. And we couldn't just pack up and leave for a new physical location. One might move a Sunday morning Mass to a public school gym but not an entire school full of kids. TEC wants to destroy the orthodox in North America simply because we will not stay under their banner, nothing less. It is just that simple. Bishop Iker and our leadership would happily let the liberal parishes leave with their property. TEC will not reciprocate. They want scorched earth. Just watch. We want an amicable divorce. They want total victory. Despicable.

And do you really think the leadership of TEC respects the traditional morality of the Global South and our diocese? No, it is clear that they feel that one day we will "see the light" and abandon our understanding of Scripture and tradition in favor of enlightened modern American reality. That is clear to me. Perhaps you don't see it. If so, peace be upon you.

5:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Church is the people, not the buildings. I can see that you spend a lot of time thinking about those who disagree with you (about going to the Southern Cone). I can assure you that those wishing to stay in the Episcopal Church in Fort Worth are spending very little time thinking about how to "get back" at you and those like you who wish to take all the Episcopal Property with you when you go to the Southern Cone. (They will leave that up to the National Church leadership to deal with). The people in this diocese that wish to remain in the Episcopal Church are engaged in a process to organize themselves into worshipping communities so that they can continue to worship God in the Episcopal Church, even without a building. What will YOU and people like you do if they suddenly find themselves without a church building sometime in the future? I hope you don't have to deal with that, but those of us wishing to remain in the Episcopal church are going to continue worshipping whether we have a building or not, not worrying about those who disagee with our viewpoints on religion, but continuing on without the people who want to go to the Southern Cone, even without a building, a priest, or the money our families have given to the Episcopal Churches in this diocese for generations.

6:07 PM  
Blogger texanglican said...

I assume I am dealing with with two different Anons here, as the first post seems to say that I am not wished ill, and the third postereclearly will delight in the destruction of the ministies of our orthodox communities.

Anon 2, if you belong to a parish which is two-thirds pro-TEC you have nothing to worry about. Bishop Iker doesn't want your property. Why does PB Schori want our's? And if you are in the liberal minority in a traditionalist parish, how can you look the orthodox majority of your church in the face and tell them that they should give up THEIR parish so that you don't have to? Why do you get to stay in the building in preference to the orthodox majority? Because the vaunted Dennis canon says so? Would that really comfort your conscience so much if "the national TEC leadership" gets its way and you get to sit in your familiar old pew with 60%+ of your former fellow parishoners missing because your beloved 815 leadership has driven them out into a school gym? (Good luck paying the mortgage, btw.)

You seem to be convinced with St. Vincent's Cathedral is "Episcopal property." First, I am very confident that the orthodox will win in court, so you won't get to gloat in the end . A lot of money will be wasted on lawyers for nothing. But let's say your admired "national TEC leadership" wins--how can you delight in the idea that our church building will be taken from us (and make no mistake, SVCC is 98% with Bishop Iker) and our ministries be crippled just so your rump TEC diocese can have our empty building? And just in case you didn't bother to read what I said above--your desired TEC victory would destroy St. Vincent's SCHOOL!!!!! Of course "the church is the people not the building," but you cannot operate a school without a building. If your "national leaders" win, they destory a top-notch school. It is that simple. Take delight in that if you can.

We want an amicable divorce, but TEC national leadership wants to kill my school. I am amazed that you can take delight in that.

This situation is directly analogous to an abusive husband who says "If you try to leave me I will track you down and hurt you and the kids." TEC's national leadership is trying to intimidate orthodox parishes into staying in their "fold" with the threat of destruction if they try ot walk away. At the very least our ministries will be severely impaired. But major ministries like St Vincent's School will simply be destroyed. And you seem happy with this, Anon. Sad. Just leave us ALONE and let my people GO!

6:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Playing like your school is the victim is nonsense. No lawsuits have been filed by anyone to date. Your side seems to be the one who is lawsuit and Presentment happy. Keep in mind that Bishop Iker has signed no less than 7 presentments in his career, while the laity and clergy wishing to remain in the Episcopal Church in this diocese have signed ZERO presentments to date. Bishop Iker has recently also fired (through Canon 32) half of the vestry at All Saints' Church, Wichita Falls(who all happen to be in favor of staying in the Episcopal Church). I believe that move was politically motivated. One of the vestry members (who is over 80 years old) was threatened by the rector of that church with, and I quote, "A trip to fist city." The rector was ordered to counseling once a month at his convenience, while the 80 plus year old vestry member and 5 other vestry members were fired. Now who is the agressor in this situation?

The Denis canon was in effect when the Diocese of Fort Worth was founded in 1982. The leadership signed on to it knowing full well what it said.

The Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth will never be a pseudo-diocese. You will be voting to join the Anglican province of the Southern Cone. Those who want to join you will also be part of that diocese. An Episcopal diocese can only be dissolved by General Convention. Therefore, the remaining Episcopalians residing within the geographical boundaries of the diocese as recognized by General Convention will continue to be the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth.

If you really wanted to protect your school from litigation, you would see to it that the property deed is made into two deeds and legally divided between church and school. It's not that hard. Look at All Saints, Fort Worth. Their school is totally seperate from the school, so was Saint Alban's, Arlington. that is why the church was not responsible for the school's debt when it went bankrupt last year. In fact, the diocesan canons encourage such an arrangement.

I think you are mad because you have just found out that there is a strong opposition to your plans to join the Southern Cone (temporarily, as Bishop Iker says). If there are only two people in the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth on November 16th, there will still be an Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth. You won't be in it, because you will be in a diocese of the Southern Cone, so why do you care what the Episcopalians do? You will get what you say you want, to worship as you choose.

8:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am anon 1 and once again, you show your true colors which are apparent by this comment.

"I think liberals in TEC wish us ill because PB Schori and her minions are suing faithful parishes who leave TEC for all of their property and assets--and have clearly threatened to sue us as well."

The use of the word minion is meant to be derogotory. Throwing around the words liberal, conservative, orthodox also shows your "smallness".

I am an orthodox Episcopalian who happens to be a conservative Republican. I agree with women's ordination, I disagree with same sex marriage but am ok with with a same sex civil service. I am on the fence about openly gay people serving as priests and or bishops. I need further discernment in this area but am not so dumb to think B Robinson is the first.

We Episcopalians are diverse and happily so. Do not lump us all in the same category. We don't need to all believe the same to worship together and frankly, that is what I most love about the Episcopal church.

Your holier than thou attitude frankly is unkind and again, appalling coming from a priest. You name calling and open disrespect for our PB is embarrassing from someone who is supposed to be a role model and a man of God.

I don't care that you don't agree with TEC. You certainly have the right to your belief and should leave TEC if you are so unhappy.

You have broken the vow you took anyway so why do you stay? Does someone need to free you to go. Go...I free you to go.

As far as the property, the PB has a duty to maintain it for the faithful (even if there is one) Episcopalians who remain. It is unbelievable that you wish us just to walk away from our church homes simply because you have the majority on your side in most church's. Might over right, is that it?

Again, for you it is a competition. It is also about greed. It would pretty hard at your age to start all over in someone's home or a strip shopping center or a gym, wouldn't it?

So, you don't leave because you are used to your comforts. Isn't that what it is really about?

Again, I must ask you is this what Jesus would do? I think not.

8:50 PM  
Blogger Julian said...

It's not like anyone's going to change their minds over comments posted on some obscure blog, so what's the point.

Tex, I know how you feel, but can you try not to use language that gives people ammunition? Let's not distract from the real issues here.

Anons "1" and "2," you language has not been any more blameless than Tex's. This is just one post on one obscure blog.

Everybody... just stop.

6:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Julian, I have read this blog entry several times and do not find anything said that should be construed as "language that gives people ammunition". It is not "language" but simply that he is an orthodox member of the clergy that draws such comments from anom 1 &2. If anon 1 and 2 do not like what Fr. has to say on his blog then they can leave. It is not their blog and therefore Fr. does not need to cater to their views. I know Fr. very well and know that he gives a great deal of respect to folks who do not see things as he does BUT accusatory statements and in some cases false statements made concerning our diocese, bishop, or parish is grounds for written correct. And that is what I read in Fr. responses.


All should note that our good Bishop looked out over the congregation at the 9am service at St. Vincent's this past Sunday and saw move people than did the Episcopal Presiding Bishop did in her meeting with the Dio of Georgia that same day. When the Diocesan Bishop can have more faithful in a single service in a single parish than does the PB meeting with an entire Dio, that is a STATEMENT.

Rudy (not anom 1 or 2)

7:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 1 and 2 - you won't have long to wait to see the truth of Texanglican's assertions about how TEC is going to treat the Diocese of Fort Worth. When you observe TEC's vindictive behaviors in the coming months, I hope you will return to this blog and acknowledge them.


7:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Julian, I agree that nothing said here will change anyone's mind. I read the blogs, both sides, as my church has not allowed any open discussion. We've never even had a Bible study about any of the areas of disagreement. We've mostly been kept in the dark until only very recently.

Very few had a clue as to what was going on and when people would go to our priest for answers, they were told it was not their concern. So, I embarked on trying to discern for myself since I was going to get no help from my own priest or even my bishop.

Now suddenly the bishop wants all the church's do offer the 40 days of discernment to members. Kind of late isn't it? Shouldn't that have been offered years ago?

The blogs taught me lots. They showed me for the most part that there are lots of hateful supposed Christians out there who see me as their enemy, see our PB as one too.

I was taught by my parents to respect those in authority whether it was a teacher, a policeman, a priest. My parents didn't tell me I had to agree with everything they said but that I did have to respect them. I have been shocked by the disrespect given to our PB.
I doubt the things said in print, in this blog and others, would ever be said to her face. It is shameful how she is treated.

I truly understand that many are unhappy with TEC and why. What no one, not one person, and believe me I have asked many, will explain to me is why if one is so unhappy they don't just leave?

Can you explain Father or you Julian?

Why torture yourself by staying? I've seen many friends leave over the years to become Methodist or Roman Catholic or Lutheran. They felt TEC was not the place for them so they moved on.

Explain it to me, I would really like to understand how one comes to the idea that the parent that has supported you, nurtured you, blessed you for years becomes your enemy? You disagree with the parent now but instead of leaving and making your own way, you are going to take what the parent and the parent's children provided. All they have worked for.

You knew what you signed up for when you took a vow, when you joined a church, when you were confirmed, when you gave money, time and talent. But now, you don't like the parent and you want the parent to know you don't like her. You want her to hurt and feel bad because that is exactly what Jesus would do, right?

And everyone who wants to stay in the family with the parent is also the enemy...it's ok now to call them names because they disagree with you, shun them at church, wish them them failure and write about them on the bathroom walls, no wait, it's called a blog today.

Explain that to me. I would really like to know.

8:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The firing of six vestry members at All Saints' Wichita Falls is true, before you accuse me of lying and false rumors again. Here is the page on the diocesan website that is Bishop Iker's statement on that matter.
Also, missions with a majority wishing to remain in the Episcopal Church will have no right to a vote to remain in TEC. I find that uncharitable.

8:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One of the anons said "Now suddenly the bishop wants all the church's do offer the 40 days of discernment to members. Kind of late isn't it? Shouldn't that have been offered years ago?"

First, you should identify yourself. Julian has. Fr has. I have. Suegra has. Why not you.

If your priest has not been open with your parish about the happenings in our national church that is a shame. But I have never had to wait to hear these things from my priest. I have cared enough about my church, my faith, my family to learn for myself what is going on in the Episcopal Church. It is not hard to find. You can google almost anything.

You ask why we do not want to follow the national church and the PB. Have you taken the time to hear that which the PB has to say about her beliefs? She stated very clearly that Jesus is not the only way to salvation. She stated very clearly that she does not believe in heaven. She says that this is heaven. She does not believe in life after death. It goes on and on. Her view of Christianity is not what is taught in the Bible. Her view is not that which has been taught by the church for 2000 years.

You ask why we don't leave TEC. We are leaving as quickly as we can. But we are not going to leave behind those assets which we have paid for with our time, talent, and treasure. If you don't know that the national church has never paid for any of these things then you need learn that lesson as well. The national church only lives off your and my pledges and the endowments of those folks before us. And remember that the endowments came from folks who believed in that which the bible taught not that which the PB dreamed up while reading about Budda.

Anon, I know that I am passionate about these matters and can get quite vocal. I don't mean to be disrespectful. But if you are truthful about wanting to know the whys then you need to get to work. It does not have to be handed to you on a silver platter. It is your job to do the work to find the truth. But if you are only playing the part of a Red Herring, then shame on you.


9:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I never asked..

"You ask why we do not want to follow the national church and the PB."

I understand why you don't want to stay. I asked why don't you just leave and make your own way, join another church, start another church?

I have no quarrel with you about your reasons for not staying with TEC. I understand why you no longer want to be an Episcopalian. It is certainly your right in this country, freedom of religion.

I have no issue with anything our PB has said, it has mostly been taken out of context on these blogs and mis-interrpreted otherwise.

What I can't understand is why there must be a vote to leave? No one can vote on what denomination I want to belong to. I don't want to leave.

No one is stopping you or anyone from leaving. The vote is for the dramatic only as it will have no meaning for many of us and although I know you will argue otherwise, it will be an illegal vote.

The property will be dealt with in the courts and the only reason it will become a court matter is because of all this.

There were other ways...you could have started your own church's and I am sure you would have had support and love from all.

This whole thing is not about your beliefs otherwise, you would just leave. It's about the property, the pews, the prayer books, the money.

Jesus didn't need all that but apparently it is vital to all of you.

I no longer care about the property as it will be out of my control. Likely some will be lost to both.

To be free of debt will be a blessing and will mean most of our money can go to outreach. We can re-build one day. I do mourn for the memories of our beloved parish's and for those who have buried their loved ones in the church. These people have no say now.

I truly wish you blessings and I appreciate the conversations. I just hope any from here forward will be more considerate about one another, about our PB and about those who disagree with us.

11:05 AM  
Blogger Julian said...

Anonymous (whichever one?),

Much as I would love to see this thread die ASAP, I wouldn't want to ignore an honest question from someone who has called me out by name here.

I think there was a degree of sarcasm in your post, but I get the sense that the question itself was asked in good faith.

Do you wish me to respond to "why torture yourself by staying" and give my angle on the parent-child analogy?

(FYI: I'm not affiliated with Tex's diocese and can't speak for him.)

12:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It sounds to me like you have labeled all of the people wishing to remain in the Episcopal Church as supporters of everything Presiding Bishop Jefferts-Schori says. It is a dangerous thing to lump people into groups and say that they are all exactly the same. Those ideas brought us racial unrest not to mention hostility in the past (both in church and secular history). The systematic exclusion of those who will remain Episcopal in this diocese is becoming more and more noticeable to people on both sides of this issue as the November vote approaches. (The Wichita Falls incident is one example). I have a strong suspicion that if a person does not believe exactly as Jack Iker does, that person will no longer be serving in any role (lay or clergy) in this diocese after the November vote. The president of Daughters of the King was recently asked to resign by Bishop Iker simply for inviting people who wish to remain in the Episcopal Church to Evening Prayer in her home. (I was there, Bishop Iker was not even mentioned at the gathering). No one wants to be excluded from their religious calling. That is the unattractive side of what is going on in Fort Worth. I can only speak for myself when I say that I will remain in the Episcopal Church. That is where my ministry is, and that is where I will stay.

8:09 PM  
Blogger Julian said...

Latest Anonymous,

I'm glad you emphasized the role of your ministry in your decisions.
IMHO the goal of Anglicans in this country going their separate ways should be to make it possible for people to pursue their ministries in supportive environments without people's consciences getting in the way (and rightly so). It should make it easier for people on either side to do what they feel called to do, not harder. I agree that it is really disturbing when those promoting a separate Anglican entity accuse those whose ministries are with TEC of selling out. I'm so sick of it. Meanwhile, though, I know Texanglican extremely well and I have known him to be personally supportive of people who remain in TEC - albeit seemingly a little puzzled. I think he's more nuanced when there's a real person he cares about involved :-) I myself am active at both a TEC and an AMIA parish, and I don't see why that should change, even though I feel a second Anglican body would be necessary if I were to take up certain ministries in the future. I'm not at all involved in Ft. Worth but from the experiences I've had, I feel that there could be a lot more diversity in the leadership that gets chosen there, even within "orthodox" theological boundaries. I'm glad to opine that in many ways Texanglican is a bit of a maverick there.

11:09 AM  

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