Texanglican

"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.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

UPDATED AGAIN: Unsettling News--But the game isn't over yet!

The Star-Telegram publishes the news that yesterday Judge John Chupp of the 141st District Court of Texas ruled in favor of the TEC's loyalist diocese of Fort Worth against the Southern Cone/ACNA diocese of Fort Worth (my own diocese) in our long-running property dispute.

The paper's account seems to be a bit inaccurate, in that it appears to me from looking at the pdf of the judge's order that he has crossed out much of the plaintiff's proposed order insofar as it related to their corporate law arguments before he signed it. Instead Judge Chupp seems to have based his decision entirely upon the question of whether or not TEC meets the legal definition of a "hierarchical church." In this case he held that TEC is such a hierarchical church and therefore no subunit within the denomination can ever depart from it, under any circumstances, without the express consent of the "hierarchy." In short, Judge Chupp bought TEC's argument that "individuals may leave us, but parishes and dioceses cannot do so without our permission."

I would be lying if I said news of this decision didn't lead to some difficulty for me in getting to sleep last night. I had thought this first stage of the property litigation was tilting our way. And I still think we have the superior legal arguments under Texas law so I am very disappointed at this decision by the trial court. But we should remember that this is not the end of the matter. The summary judgment's order to vacate property within sixty days will all but certainly be staid pending our appeal, so I am confident that no one in going to be locked out of their churches just before Easter. After all, the ACNA diocese of San Joaquin, California, lost a similar summary adjudication decision in their property dispute with TEC on July 21, 2009 and the orthodox Anglicans continue worshiping in their churches today as the legal process of appeals and re-hearings grinds on. I am pretty sure that the daily life of service and worship of the Southern Cone/ACNA diocese of Fort Worth will also be continuing just as it has for the foreseeable future.

And let's not forget--the Fort Worth Court of Appeals has already sided with our Southern Cone/ACNA diocese in a previous procedural matter against the TEC diocese. We might very well find sympathetic ears for our arguments at the appellate level. Our appeal of this summary judgment from Judge Chupp will certainly take many months to be heard and decided upon at the Court of Appeals level. And then whomever loses in the Court of Appeals will surely appeal to the Texas Supreme Court. So nothing really is likely to be resolved for far more than a year from now. This is no time to panic. Unless TEC decides to negotiate a fair settlement with us in good faith this matter is likely to continue to be unsettled for a long time to come.

Let us pray that wisdom and justice will prevail on all sides. This matter never should have come to litigation in the first place. Resources are being squandered that should go to building up God's Kingdom. Lord, have mercy and grant us all peace.

UPDATE: The Southern Cone/ACNA diocese of Fort Worth has just released this statement:

On Friday afternoon, Jan. 21, attorneys for the Diocese and Corporation received two orders from the Hon. John Chupp in the matter of the main suit against us, in which a minority of former members has been joined by The Episcopal Church in an effort to claim diocesan property. Judge Chupp signed an order drafted by the plaintiffs' attorneys, from which he struck several points with which he did not apparently agree. The order does find that TEC is a hierarchical church, and on that basis the judge has ruled in favor of the plaintiffs. [The judge's order can be read on the diocesan Web site.]

Friday's ruling from the trial court is a disappointment but not a disaster. The plaintiffs have offered no evidence, either in the courtroom or in their voluminous filings, supporting their claim that the Diocese was not entitled to withdraw from The Episcopal Church, as it did in November 2008. Nor have they demonstrated a legal right to our property, which is protected by Texas statutes regulating trusts and non-profit corporations.

On the contrary, it is our position that the judge's order does not conform to Texas law, and we are therefore announcing our plans to appeal the decision without delay. We believe that the final decision, whenever it is signed by Judge Chupp based on these orders, will not be sustained on appeal. According to our lead attorney, Shelby Sharpe, "These orders appear to be contrary to the earlier opinion from the Second District Court of Appeals in Fort Worth and current decisions from both that court and the Supreme Court of Texas."

In response to the ruling, Bishop Iker has said, "We are obviously disappointed by Judge Chupp's ruling and see it as fundamentally flawed. We are confident that the Court of Appeals will carefully consider our appeal and will rule in accordance to neutral principles of law as practiced in the State of Texas. In the meantime, we will continue to focus on mission and outreach in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, while praying for the judges who will take up our appeal."

We give thanks to God in all circumstances, and we trust in His plans. While we disagree with the judge's ruling, we offer our sincere appreciation for the time and study he has given to the case
.


UPDATED AGAIN! Also from our diocesan office:

Answers to some of your questions, from our legal team:

Should we be surprised by this ruling?

This result at this level was not entirely unexpected. It is for that reason that our motions and briefs and other submissions were drafted in the manner in which they were drafted.

To what court will we appeal?

The 2nd Court of Appeals, which is located in Fort Worth, has jurisdiction. This is the same court that heard and granted our Petition for Mandamus last year.

Will our appeal be heard?

Assuredly. We have anticipated this possibility in all the evidence and arguments that have been presented. We expect the court to appreciate the importance of reviewing this decision, not only because of its extensive effect on our diocese, but because of its implications for property controlled by non-profit corporations throughout the state of Texas.

Will we have to vacate our property and relinquish our assets in 60 days?

That is most unlikely; we expect to continue we are. There are several ways this might be accomplished. One possibility is that we will seek a stay on Judge Chupp's order while we appeal. In the absence of another eventuality, we need not worry about having to turn over the property in the immediate future, if ever.

What should clergy and church members do?

Pray. Pray for those of us on your legal team, and for the judges who will hear our appeal. The lawyers and courts need the wisdom that only God can supply. Pray for Bishop Iker and for the members of our Board of Trustees named in the suit. Pray for your clergy, and for your congregation.

Finally, we must remember that Christ's Church is not the property, but the clergy and people. These, with the presence, protection, and guidance of the Holy Spirit, are our true assets. Empty buildings are of no use to the Gospel. Nevertheless, our property is justly our own, and we will continue to press our case in the courts. But property pales to insignificance when compared to the unity of the Church and her mission to proclaim Jesus Christ to the world. Jesus said, "Let them all be one, as We are one." Let us be one.

38 Comments:

Blogger David's Dose of Reality said...

Thank you Fr Foster for your words of encouragement regarding this issue and the appeals. It's difficult to not have so many emotions right now, ranging from pure anger to a broken heart feeling to confusion as to what will happen. We must continue to pray for Gods help and direction and that the appeals will go our way. Perhaps we are being tested once again.

David

9:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am sure there will be an appeal as you stated and this will drag on, but this was wonderful news for loyal Episcopalians! It would be a blessing to celebrate Easter in our church's and we would welcome all to join us!

10:37 AM  
Anonymous Henry said...

Anonymous...there is nothing keeping you from worshipping in those churches now. Noone has been kicked out and all are welcome.

7:03 PM  
Blogger Robin G. Jordan said...

Randall,

Did you read Anglican Curmudgeon's article, "Fort Worth Judge Signs ECUSA Orders"
at http://accurmudgeon.blogspot.com/2011/01/fort-worth-judge-signs-ecusa-orders.html

There is not much to say about the recent news from Fort Worth, except that there will certainly be an appeal. (Note to partisans: had the decision gone in Bishop Iker's favor, I still would have had to report the same conclusion.)

The judge did not issue a decision of his own, but simply signed the pro forma orders submitted by ECUSA and the local Gulick parties. He made a few deletions in the former, to make it clear that he was deciding the case by deference to the "hierarchy" of the Episcopal Church (USA), and not on neutral principles of law. Indeed, he staked his all on a bet that the Texas higher courts would not follow the latter approach, since he struck out the proposed paragraph that would have said he would reach the same result under "neutral principles" analysis. Thus if the Court of Appeal rules that he should have applied neutral principles, he will have to start all over again.

Also, no findings of fact, or sanctions issued, for the unprofessional conduct with which Bishop Iker charged his former counsel. So that will be more grist for the appeal.

Ho, hum -- this decision represents just another notch in the belt, another appeal, and more dollars to be spent because the lower courts are consistently proving themselves unequal to the task of analyzing all the points of real conflict and dispute -- which in this case should have required a trial, with appropriate findings of fact made after a weighing of all the evidence.

Fort Worth deserved better, but we shall have to wait.

8:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, Henry, I know that I could worship at any church I choose to attend. I am an Episcopalian though and wish to worship at an Episcopal church. The church I once attended is no longer Episcopal and is part of the Southern Cone, not TEC. Once it is Episcopal again, I'll be back. And it will be, it's just a matter of time. I am patient.

10:07 PM  
Blogger Beneath the Firmament said...

That and ACNA is NOT in communion with Canterbury..

If it's not in communion with Canterbury, is it even Anglican at all?

That is my only beef. I personally like traditional Rite 1 eucharist ceremonies with traditional vestments. None of that vomit some bishops have been wearing as of late, and none of that experimental eucharistic crap.

But it the parish/diocese is not in communion with canterbury then how can one call it Anglican?

Eventhough the current Archbishop of Canterbury has been a Judas to the CofE, supporting the muslim colonization of what was once a Christian Britain.

11:46 PM  
Blogger Texanglican (R.W. Foster+) said...

In addition to being in the ACNA our diocese is a constituent member diocese of the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone of the Americas (most of South America) by action of their Provincial Assembly. So your only objection is gone, friend! We are in communion with Canterbury via our membership under Presiding Bishop Tito's primateship! (And even if that properly legal tie to a full member province of the Communion didn't make us Anglicans in your eyes, the primates meeting in Alexandria recognized us as faithful Anglicans at any rate, btw. Look up their communique and you will see their declaration to that effect. They are one of the Instruments of Communion, after all.)

12:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rome still welcomes you, Randall.

12:16 PM  
Blogger David's Dose of Reality said...

@Anonymous - you should educate yourself on the definition of "Episcopal" and "Episcopalian". Those terms are not and never have been solely reserved for TEC alone. They are used worldwide in other churches, both those who are in communion with Canterbury and those who are not.

12:57 PM  
Blogger Texanglican (R.W. Foster+) said...

I appreciate your welcome, anon 2. But I must tell you that I am a child of the English Reformation and an heir to the Caroline Divines. I am, in short, an Anglican by conviction and intend to make my way in service to our Lord within the Anglican tradition. I freely admit that I hope God makes it possible for me to continue ministering where I have been serving and in the way I am accustomed to do so. But if a few years from now it pleases God to see our ACNA/Southern Cone congregation displaced from our property then I will simply say, "the Lord giveth and the Lord hath taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord." And I will pick up my personal vestments and the Prayer Books I own and take the chalice and paten my school kids gave me when I was ordained and head off to a borrowed space in a neighboring Methodist or Baptist church or a school gym. We will set up a folding table and worship the Living God with whomever shows up. The Gospel of Jesus Christ can be preached from the floor of a basketball court just as effectively as from a carved pulpit. And the precious Body and Blood of Christ can be administered from a folding table with a white bedsheet for a fair linen and tea lights from the Dollar Store just as easily as from the altar of a cathedral church!

4:07 PM  
Blogger Beneath the Firmament said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

4:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"In addition to being in the ACNA our diocese is a constituent member diocese of the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone of the Americas (most of South America) by action of their Provincial Assembly."

Nonsense. The Constitution of the Southern Cone very clearly states which dioceses are members, and Fort Worth is not one of them. Their including you in 'membership' was an illegal act under their very own constitution which has never been changed by due synodical process.

Not to mention that your bishop was past the mandatory age of episcopal retirement under the Canons of the Southern Cone. Again ignored by primatial fiat.

There are no 'emergency powers' given for any such action.

4:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

San Joaquin's bishop, that is.

5:14 PM  
Blogger Beneath the Firmament said...

Well I am struggling with this issue pretty hard.

I'm ok with going Anglican in theory, but I'm not exactly sure what these means in totality.

Does that mean that the polity will be more like the CofE's? Or would it stay the same as TEC's?

Would we have to switch the TEC's Book of Common Prayer to the Book of Common Worship?

The one thing that would make me jump onto the ACNA bandwagon instantly would be if the parishes turned their altars back around and dress them again in the Sarum fashion. And incense, why is incense only on holidays?

5:16 PM  
Blogger Texanglican (R.W. Foster+) said...

Anon 3, I gather from your use of the third person to refer to the Southern Cone that you are not a member thereof. Why then do you feel entitled to pontificate as to how the leaders of the Southern Cone interpret and apply their own constitution and canons? That packs just about as much weight behind it as when a Frenchman lectures an American as to how we fail to live up to our U.S. Constitution! Let's leave each polity to interpret and apply its own laws as it sees fit, shall we? I am sure the good people of the Southern Cone are competent to govern themselves without outside help.

6:21 PM  
Blogger Beneath the Firmament said...

Oh and maybe even use the 1662 BCP with contemporary language?

7:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Let's leave each polity to interpret and apply its own laws as it sees fit, shall we?"

Yes let's, shall we? TEC polity has interpretated and applied its laws as meaning Forth Worth cannot secede from TEC. I take it you will therefore accept this?

"I am sure the good people of the Southern Cone are competent to govern themselves without outside help."

I am equally sure the good people of TEC are competent to govern themselves without outside (Global South) help.

Your logic, as ever, is flawless.

3:47 AM  
Blogger deck said...

Anon #6,

You have proven no point as TEC's stated polity versus its operating polity are incongruent. TEC does not follow its written and agreed upon constitution and canons. TEC makes up its operating rules on-the-fly to suit its own worldly ends of power. Therefore its polity is hogwash.

1:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

@deck

You have proven no point as Southern Cone's stated polity versus its operating polity are incongruent. Southern Cone does not follow its written and agreed upon constitution and canons. Southern Cone makes up its operating rules on-the-fly to suit its own worldly ends of power. Therefore its polity is hogwash.

3:17 PM  
Blogger Robin G. Jordan said...

Randall,

I have acquired considerable experience and expertise in both contemporary and traditional worship in non-traditional settings. In the 1980s I was involved in a new mission church from planning stages, serving not only on the steering committee that oversaw the new work, which was initially launched as a satellite congregation of my parish, but also as the worship coordinator on the launch team, in which position I was responsible for chairing the new congregation’s worship committee and liturgy planning team and orchestrating the congregation’s first worship services. Among the non-tradition settings in which we celebrated the Eucharist were a tennis club, an office building, a storefront, and a gymnasium. Since May 2002 I have been involved in six new church plants that have gathered for worship in a variety of non-traditional settings—living rooms, an office building, a maritime museum conference room, a fire station, a café, a university student center banquet room and movie theater, and Lutheran Church Missouri Synod church sanctuary.

If you are forced to join “church in a box” folks like myself, please feel free to contact me for advice. I am aware of the kinds of challenges that those who prefer a traditional style of worship face in non-traditional settings and can provide you with helpful suggestions as how you can meet these challenges. (Cont'd)

11:16 PM  
Blogger Robin G. Jordan said...

For example, Home Depot sells a relatively inexpensive small folding table that can be raised to altar height with sections of ABS pipe. A crimson Jacobean fall—the “carpet” of the 1571 proposed canons and the 1604 canons—can be easily stitched together and used to cover the table and its ABS pipe extensions. A small matching pillow can be used to support the altar book.

Junk the brass candlesticks, bookstands, flower vases and altar crosses. They clutter the holy table and they look out of place in non-traditional settings.

Low pillar candles on wide bases—wood, ceramic, or glass—or even the spherical glass oil lamps you sometimes see in Wal-Mart, CVS, or Walgreens provide suitable altar lights and generally fit better with non-traditional settings. The nice thing about the spherical oil lamps is you can add frankincense essential oil to the lamp oil and produce the aroma of frankincense without the smoke of burning incense. You can do the same thing with a drop or two of frankincense essential oil added to the pooling wax at the top of pillar candles.

You might try putting the altar lights in an asymmetrical arrangement, both at one side of the table, rather than one on each side of the table.

Invest in a processional cross that can be placed in a stand to one side of the holy table or even behind the holy table when it is not used in the entrance procession and the recessional procession. While space may not permit a procession, the processional cross is a nice touch.

As for liturgical colors I recommend Percy Dearmer’s simplified Old English scheme—best for festal occasions, second best for ferial occasions, and Lenten array or sackcloth for Lent and Holy Week.

As for flowers, purchase some inexpensive neutral-colored raffia or wicker waste baskets at Wal-Mart and place them, filled with fresh cut flowers, around the room in which the congregation is gathering to celebrate the Eucharist.

Arrange the chairs on two or three sides of the holy table or in a semi-circle around the holy table. This helps to create a sense of community. (Cont'd)

11:18 PM  
Blogger Robin G. Jordan said...

A metal music stand with an adjustable top makes a good lectern. LifeWay and Cokesbury also sell modestly priced wooden lecterns. You will want something that is light and can be moved and stored easily.

A strip of Velcro may be glued across the top of the lectern on the side nearest the reader and a strip of Velcro can be attached to a lectern fall. The lectern fall covers the top of the lectern and then hangs down in front of the lectern almost to the floor. The lectern is placed in front of the holy table for the Liturgy of the Word and then removed immediately before the Offertory. It can be done inconspicuously during the exchange of the Peace.

If the congregation misses kneeling for communion (and I suspect that they will) put together a couple of kneeling benches with an attached rail like a simple prie-dieu on which one or two people can kneel to receive communion. They should be light enough for one person to move but heavy enough not to tip over. Two communion stations can be set up and one or two ushers assigned to each station to help people to kneel and to assist them to rise. The kneeling benches are kept one on each side of the room and then moved inconspicuously into place during the exchange of the Peace. If you have done theater in university or in the community, it is like moving scenery for the next act of the play. The Liturgy of the Word is Act 1; the Liturgy of the Table is Act 2.

An Apple laptop, multimedia projector, and projection screen is a worthwhile investment. The projector can be used project not only the words of prayers and the lyrics of hymns and songs but also video clips and slides of Celtic crosses, the Book of Kells, stained glass windows, views of the countryside in the early morning mist, and other scenes that have spiritual associations for the congregation. Video clips and slides can be combined with words of prayers and lyrics of hymns and songs. MIDIS and mp3s can be used to provide accompaniment music for the congregational singing, using an Apple laptop and speakers.

An audio clip of a monastery bell calling the monks to prayer might be used to call the congregation to prayer at the beginning of the service. One Irish web site sells a CD of the ringing of ancient seventh century Irish prayer bell. Since the congregation will not be able to kneel to pray upon entering the worship area, the sound of a prayer bell might be used to announce a period of silence preceding the service. During this period of silence the congregation would sit with heads bowed in prayer and reflection. The opening hymn or song would follow the period of silence.

Percy Dearmer suggests using the Litany at the beginning of the service at a gateway to the Eucharist. This has much to commend it. The opening hymn or song would be omitted, as would be the Prayers of the People.

The trick in worship in non-traditional settings is to use your imagination. Don’t try to replicate a traditional church interior in a non-traditional setting. Rather take the setting and turn it into sacred space. To prime the pump, read Dan Kimball’s Emerging Worship: Creating Worship Gatherings for New Generations (Zondervan 2004). There is a younger generation out there hungry for interactive participatory organic worship.

11:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To David, I am "educated" and am offended that you imply otherwise. I know what the word episcopal means. I was pretty clear I believe in my statement that I wanted to be an Episcopalian and worship in a church affiliated with TEC. And BTW, I capitalized Episcopalian and in the dictionary it states "member of a the Protestant Episcopal church." You knew what I meant however, many seem to take some glee in reminding Episcopalians that we don't "own" the word. Baptists don't own the word baptist but I think we all know that when someone says they are "Baptist" what they mean.

8:10 AM  
Blogger Paul Powers said...

These are wonderful suggestions, Mr. Jordan. Fortunately, there are people in our diocese who also have experience in improvising worship spaces. One of our missions, which was organized shortly before the split, met until recently at a local school. Our newest mission is meeting at the Lockheed recreational center. We also have a Spanish-language mission station in Houston that is being organized. Lord willing, we will be forming more in the future. So, regardless of the final outcome of this litigation, your suggestions will be useful to the Diocese of Fort Worth.

Giving credit where credit is due, the Episcopal Church affiliated diocese set up an exchange program to help out congregations that needed vestments, communion sets, etc. for their worship in exile. I'm hoping that if the need arises, we can show the same resourcefulness.

In the wake of last Friday's ruling, we are apprehensive, but optimistic about our future as a diocese regardless of where we end up worshiping.

9:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Spanish mission??? Ugh!
I think I just vomited in my mouth.

7:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The last comment is unfortunate but not really surprising.

BigTex AC

1:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Peace of the Lord Jesus to you all. My question to anonymous is at which point did you stop believing that the ONLY way to God is through Jesus Christ? We Christians may be wrong, but regardless, that is what we believe. If salvation is not through Jesus, and only Jesus, then help me understand who left who and what?
http://www.virtueonline.org/portal/modules/news/article.php?storyid=10938&com_id=110421&com_rootid=110228&com_mode=thread&

11:35 PM  
Blogger David's Dose of Reality said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

5:04 PM  
Blogger David's Dose of Reality said...

@anonymous – perhaps you should enlighten us as to why you nearly “vomited up in your mouth” in reaction to the Diocese of Ft. Worth’s forming a Spanish Mission. By your reaction, I would say you believe that is a bad thing, not good, etc. Why? Don’t Spanish speaking persons have the right and need to form an Anglican mission? Isn’t it our duty as Christians to grow Christ’s One Holy and Apostolic Church? What I suspect, and please correct me if I’m mistaken, is that since this mission was formed under the direction of the Episcopal Diocese of Ft. Worth and not under the TEC organization, it is therefore not really a mission and the people there are not really true Anglicans? Your comment is a slap to all who formed this mission and those who are worshiping with it.

5:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whatever David. Why should the Anglican church pander to those who break the law like the RCC does?

Those who are citizens in the US legally had to take English classes. Stop encouraging illegals to take up roost in our country.

Unless of course its about money?

There is no reason to form "spanish missions" when English is our official language.

9:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Whatever David. Why should the Anglican church pander to those who break the law like the RCC does?

Those who are citizens in the US legally had to take English classes. Stop encouraging illegals to take up roost in our country.

Unless of course its about money?

There is no reason to form "spanish missions" when English is our official language."

Anonymous, I am very sorry to read your words. As I know how educated you are, and how it offends you to suggest otherwise, I am rather embarrassed to call your mind back to Article XXIV of the 39.

"It is a thing plainly repugnant to the Word of God, and the custom of the Primitive Church, to have public Prayer in the Church, or to minister the Sacraments, in a tongue not understanded of the people."

That people should worship in their native language, is a given in Anglicanism, and all of Christianity. Even if someone has an operational knowledge of English, true worship is better done in the native tongue, where they are not just "proficient", but excellent; because worship is never proficient, but excellent. Remember it was the Romans who expected the English to learn Latin. It was, after all, the official language of both Church and State.

But in answer to your first question, "Why should the Anglican church pander to those who break the law like the RCC does?", I am not sure creating a spanish mission does this, as there are many good (and legal) American citizens and residents who don't speak English. But even if it meant exactly what you assume it does, the answer would be as follows:

Because illegal immigrants are made in the image and likeness of God, and by God's mercy are beneficiaries of Christ's work of reconcilliation, without qualification, or reference to nation of origin, or laws of countries.

I believe I already addressed the your second statement "Those who are citizens in the US legally had to take English classes. Stop encouraging illegals to take up roost in our country.", in my first statement, so I will simply add that worshiping the Living God, creator of all languages, in Spanish, is not to encourage illegal immigration any more than worshiping in Russian encourages communism.

"Unless of course its about money?" I find it difficult to believe that you are asserting that creating a mission whose membership is entirely of illegal immigrant Mexicans (which is probably not the case), is a money making scheme, but I'm at a loss for another way of understanding this statement. Perhaps illegal immigrants are different in Texas than they are here, but in Colorado, illegal immigrants are not known for their excessive wealth.

"There is no reason to form 'spanish missions' when English is our official language."

Once again I feel embarrassed to call you back to that which you know so well, but Christian Charity, and Verity both require me to do so. When Jesus commands us to "make disciples of all nations", the command was not qualified, or lessened to those who residence is recognized as "legal" by the current government. It includes Mexicans too. Remember that Christians had no legal right to live in the Roman Empire for centuries, yet we stayed as "illegals", we became "illegals", for the sake of him who called us. And it is for His sake, that the Gospel MUST be proclaimed to all people, legal residents, or otherwise; because His is a good news, of great joy, which is for all people.

The proclamation of Angels, the command of the Risen Savior,these are reasons enough for me. I pray they will be enough for you too.

Yours in Christ,
jacob

11:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

English is the language of this nation. That article you are referring to is about worshipping in a language that is foreign to the native tongue of that particular nation. That is not the case here. We speak English in the US.

It sounds very opportunistic, where the Anglican church would be using Mexican immigrants to fill their coffers. Illegal immigrants also. Might aswell go employ a day-labor worker on the street corner for some slave work.

3:08 PM  
Blogger Beneath the Firmament said...

"When Jesus commands us to "make disciples of all nations", the command was not qualified, or lessened to those who residence is recognized as "legal" by the current government."

I disagree. Mexico is already predominately Christian although Roman Catholic, but Christian nonethelss That work of making disciples of every nation is already accomplished in Mexico, so there really is no need here in the US to make an artificial pocket community of lazy immigrants who choose not to assimilate to our culture.

The point made here is not about spreading the Gospel as the illegals are certainly Christian but whether or not we as the Anglican Church should pander to a group of people who knowingly break the law and disregard our National Sovereignty as a predominately Christian Nation. Its treasonous to do so.

And yes, I am very much against the "Open Border" politics of the new quasi-commie-globalism that is spreading as of late.

3:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow folks, I can honestly say I am floored. God be with me as I try to respond.

Anonymous: "That article you are referring to is about worshipping in a language that is foreign to the native tongue of that particular nation. That is not the case here. We speak English in the US."

If you read the last sentence of the article, you'll find something interesting: "in a tongue not understanded of the people." Notice the word is not "of the country", or "of the nation", nor "of the government of the people", but of the people. In this case, the tongue understanded of the people of this congregation, is Spanish.

On a similar note, I notice TEC has a congregation in Paris, which worships in English (if you're interested, www.americancathedral.org ). Is this wrong in your estimation? After all, the official language of France is well known. I mean, they speak French in France.

As for your second line, it just seems to me you are taken with the idea that they are ministering to illegal immigrants for their money. Based on the information present in this thread, it seems just as likely they are ministering to a Spanish speaking population because the Spanish speaking peoples in Texas are in just as much need to hear the Gospel as the English population, with sinners like you and me.

Yours in Christ,
jacob

6:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beneath the Firmament,

I would be wary of labeling illegal immigrants as lazy. There may be some lazy illegal immigrants, sure, but there are some lazy CEO's too, but it would be wrong to label them all "lazy". Furthermore, as I read the atrocities taking place in Mexico every day, I find it hard to believe that making disciples of every nation is accomplished in Mexico. All the evidence seems to suggest that there is still a lot left to be done in evangelizing Ol' Mexico.

I'd disagree, BtF, and say that this is entirely about spreading the Gospel, even if every single member of this new Anglican Congregation was Roman Catholic at one point (which might not be the case). Actually, this thread has had nothing to do with illegal immigration, or immigration in any form.

The topic under discussion was the choice of a mission congregation to hold it's liturgy in Spanish. And since worship in the Anglican Tradition is always about making disciples, I return once again to the command of Jesus, "go therefore, and make disciples of all nations".

Was Jesus interested in political units like Empires, states, countries? No, he was interested in people, and reconciling people with God. Interestingly enough, a better way of translating "nations" would be "nationalities", because it puts the emphasis to where it should be, on the people of the country, not abstract organizations like countries.

Which brings us back again to the proclamation of the angles who "bring good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people (legal or otherwise). For unto you is born this day in the city of David, who is Christ the Lord".

As for them already being Christian, this makes it all the more reason for us to create a mission to reach them. It certainly would be far from Christian were we to say "you can't worship God in church because you don't have the right papers". But on the topic of them being Christians already, shouldn't we then "do good to all people, especially those of the household of God," Legal or otherwise?

Yours in Christ,
jacob

7:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nope. I'm all about God and nation here. So if it is against the law for them to be here, then I oppose them. And if I ever found out that my church was assisting illegals, then I would report them. Priest, Deacon, or Bishop it makes little difference to me.

9:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just chiming in here... for those who keep harping about Spanish should not be spoken in Texas. Texas actually used to be part of "New Spain" and then Mexico, before it ever became part of the English-speaking United States. So it seems to me that Spanish is as much a part of Texas heritage, if not moreso, than English (whether we actually speak Spanish or not).

Anyway, I'm keeping all of you in my prayers.

10:32 PM  
Blogger Paul Powers said...

Fr. Randall, please accept my apologies. If I had known that my passing reference to our new Spanish-language mission in Houston would have taken this thread so far off topic, I never would have made it.

7:41 PM  

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