Monday, October 12, 2009

Report from the Episcopal Property Wars Front

[Photo by Eric, an ASC parishioner. Article from today's L.A. Times:]
The marquee outside St. Luke's Anglican Church in La Crescenta was a bit sardonic in its scripture from the Book of Hebrews: "You joyfully accepted confiscation of your property."

That was the message delivered Sunday by the Rev. Rob Holman, in his last sermon at the Foothill Boulevard church that has been entangled in a legal dispute with the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles.

"Next Sunday, as many of you know, we will be worshiping in a different building," Holman said. "All because we have chosen to stand for the gospel and the authority of God's word over our lives."

Today, St. Luke's leaders will hand over the church's keys to the diocese after losing a lengthy battle to practice its conservative brand of Christian theology and hold onto the church.
Read the rest here ...
[But I couldn't help but note that the article described "... roughly 75 congregants at the 10:30 a.m. service as they filed in and exchanged hugs. Some in the audience were not members of the congregation but wanted to show their support, while others had not been to the parish in years but wanted to attend Holman's final service there." Maybe "if you build it, they will come" doesn't extend to Schismatic Anglicanism!
And ALL of this reminds me of one of my favorite scenes from one of my favorite musicals: Fiddler on the Roof. It's the part where Tevye prays for God to "Bless and keep the Czar ... far away from us!"
So prayers ascend for those who have left the Episcopal Church because their understanding of bringing the "Kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven" is different that ours.
May God bless them ... far away from the property and polity of the church they've chosen to leave. AND may God bless US with the will, the vision and the commitment to proclaim the Good News of God in Christ Jesus to ALL who come seeking to claim it as their own as we put these property disputes behind us and use the days and weeks and months ahead as opportunities to move forward in mission and ministry.]


Unknown said...

I nearly threw my cup of coffee across the room when I saw that this morning!

It isn't THEIR property and no one has confiscated it. And as far as I know, they're all perfectly welcome to keep on worshiping at the church. They'll just have to get used to a new Rector who follows his priestly vow of obedience.

Pamela Reamer Williams said...

The marquee needs to be changed to say: "This Episcopal Church now joyfully welcomes ALL of you!"

How sad that the people of St. Luke's couldn't accept that our Church has a large enough umbrella to shelter them as well as those who interpret Christ's teachings differently.

Larry Stammer said...

These good people are leaving. But others will come home, like my wife and I who became part of an Episcopal diaspora in search of a new parish when St. Luke's left the fold. All Saints, Pasadena, welcomed me and I plan to continue to spend half my time there, and the other half at St. Luke's--the parish where my granddaughter was baptized, where my wife served on the Altar Guild and where I was honored to serve as senior warden. We don't feel we are somehow "confiscating" the property. We feel we're coming home--home to work for reconciliation and inclusion of all.

JCF said...

Actually, I say let them take that ugly, Protestant-style sign with them... [Put a nice, simple Episcopal sign in its place!]

Unknown said...

Larry, it wasn't THEIR property; that's what the lawsuits have been about. St. Luke's wasn't THEIRS anymore than St. James/Mid-Wilshire is MINE or ASP is YOURS. Go back to St. Luke's in the same spirit that Frenchmen and women who had fled France before the occupation returned to restore their country after the War.

rob said...

Well, actually there were 220 people present on Sunday. Reporters often mess up their facts.