Anyway, one of them was yet-another note from an LGBT soon-to-be former Episcopalian explaining (rather apologetically) why they "just can't do this anymore" and are looking for a new faith community where "we can love each other and Jesus and just live our lives."
The email concluded, "I'll miss the liturgy but it's just not worth the fight anymore. I don't know how you do it."
Some days, neither to I. Or maybe more to the point, I don't know WHY I do it. Why stay in a church where just being who we are is a source of stress for some and schism for others? Why be part of an institution that seems ontologically incapable of living up to its high calling to BE the Body of Christ in the world and keeps settling for being "the church" instead?
Here is the part of the service from the BCP Ordination of a Priest, where the bishop asks:
My sister, the Church is the family of God, the body of Christ, and the temple of the Holy Spirit. All baptized people are called to make Christ known as Savior and Lord, and to share in the renewing of his world. Now you are called to work as pastor, priest, and teacher, together with your bishop and fellow presbyters, and to take your share in the councils of the Church.
Then there's a recitation of what amounts to the "job description" of a presbyter in the Church of God and which the bishop concludes with this final question:
My sister, do you believe that you are truly called by God and his Church to this priesthood?
And the answer is:
I believe I am so called.
And that's the best I can still do to answer the "how I do it/why I do it" question.
I continue to work within the councils of the church because I believe I am so called. And I believe other people are "otherwise" called. Not all of us are cut out to serve in this particular (some would argue "peculiar") field of the Lord we call the Episcopal Church. But believing I am so called I keep at it. An inch at a time. A meeting at a time. A resolution, a Convention, a communique at a time. Sometimes admittedly it's two inches forward, one inch back and I weary of the struggle.
But the question my bishop asked me was not "Will you enjoy every moment and succeed at every turn?"
He asked me if I believed I was so called.
And I said I was.
And I still do.
So now I'm going to get to work.