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Sunday, April 13, 2008

Episcopalian Hypocrisy

Palm Sunday TEo Bishop Don Wimberly, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Texas, preached to our congregation. In our opinion, two things worthy of note happened during his visit.

  • SWMBO! asked me, the ever obedient one, "Did the bishop say anything?" And I had to respond, "No."
  • Later, EC reminded me that he did say one thing worth remembering. To paraphrase Bp. Wimberly - "I hate hypocrites."

Well, my parish, Church of the Good Shepherd, Tomball, Texas witnessed Wimberly's Episcopalian hypocrosy first hand today.

We attended the 2nd of our normal three services, as usual. There was a larger than normal number of seat warmers in the pews.

First the "facts," as I remember them. A number of special events were scheduled:

  • A child was to be baptized
  • Father Stan Gerber, rector, and Father Craig, assistant rector, were lnown to be officiating at their last service as Episcopalian priests. We are starting a new congregation, St. Timothy Anglican Church, Tomball (Texas) next Sunday.
  • And we had 3-4 representatives from the Diocese. One was Canon to the Ordinary Andrew "Andy" Doyle. In addition there were two men and a woman. We sat next to the men and shared smiles and handshakes with at least the nearest one, Bob Shorer(?) during the sharing of the Peace. We are a friendly parish and all around nice people. ;>) The diocesan representatives were on-hand to help the remaining parishioners restart the the congregation.
  • Fr. Stan spoke of his love for the men he has worked with for the last several years. He spoke of their attempts at reconciliation and how that just wasn't going to happen. He spoke of his deep love for his congregation at Good Shepherd and how he was going to miss those remaining behind. His respect for them and strong desire for their well-being was evident. When he finished speaking, we (All but one that I could see. I'm sure I missed several others.) gave Fr. Stan a rousing, standing ovation lasting several minutes.
  • Canon Doyle followed with a nicely phrased speech telling of how the Diocese would be there to support the remaining congregation with finances and other resources. He repeatedly emphasized the presence of multiple "good shepherds." He said he would be there for the next month. I assume he meant as the supply preacher. Doyle made it very clear that there was "respect and love" for the departing Anglican congregation. The congregation's reception to his speech was silence as the officiants moved on to the next part of the service.
  • One of the announcements was that there will be only one service at Good Shepherd next week, down from three!
  • One younger couple went forward to receive a blessing upon their wedding anniversary. As they passed by us I heard her quietly say: " . . this is our last official act as Episcopalians!'
  • At the offering, I noticed the plate that passed by me was empty until it reached the diocesan reps seated next to us. As far as I could tell, the offering was very light or almost non-existent today. Supposedly, the 1st service experienced the same.
  • Besides our letter of transfer from Episcopal to Anglican, I am aware of (I personally have been told by the bearers, saw the envelope with "RESIGNATION" written on it or read the contents) at least three other individuals/families that were carrying theirs for presentation to Doyle or later mailing. I hope Doyle was wearing his flame-retardant underwear!
  • During the Eucharist, SWMBO had to leave due to a coughing fit. She stayed out. She said she could not receive Communion from Canon Doyle. Me too. Doyle was serving on the side of the altar that we would have approached. I remained in my seat until our row went forward and I performed what was probably my first act of "civil disobedience." I crossed to another line of recipients. My poor sense of timing led me to stand there for several minutes waiting until the appropriate time to move forward. Friends picked on me for "standing out like a sore thumb!" Wink, wink, nudge, nudge. I received Communion from our godly priests, Fr. Stan & Fr. Craig.
  • A "funny thing" happened during Communion. Canon Doyle's line of recipients was much shorter than the other. I wonder why?
  • At the end of the Eucharist an anthem or song was sung for the procession out of the church. The choir leader prefaced it with something like this:
    "We sing this song to the glory of God. We want to dedicate it to Fr. Stan and his wife!"

    They sang "The Power of His Love" and received another standing ovation. OK, OK. We were already standing! hehe
  • After the service, we began hugging and many were crying as families said goodbye to each other. I experienced and overheard many comments of love, respect and pledges future assistance between those remaining and departing.

Now, I've laid the background and events as I witnessed and understand them. Let's get down the the "Episcopalian hypocrisy" I started off with.

As I've said before, the 'Pisskie leadership wants us all to believe they have a "big happy tent" for us to dwell under. As we heard today, a tent of love, respect, listening and worship. Let me tell how really was (in no particular order):

  • The good bishop does not respond to email. Several of us have requested information and received a deafening silence. For some, this has extended beyond two weeks.
  • I've heard him speak 3-4 times. Unless he's answering a direct question, he says a lot of words and says nothing.
  • I have asked him, in a public meeting, "Why are we continuing to stay under the leadership of a heretic?" His answer, to me, made no sense.
  • He has threatened with inhibition our two godly priests because they will no longer obey the servants of pagans and heretics. Because they will not submit to him any longer, they are to be deposed this coming week.
  • When I approached Canon Doyle to hand him our letter of transfer, I smiled and introduced myself by name. Hey! I have no personal beef with the guy! I quickly and quietly told him that because he was serving a pagan (The Episcopal Presiding Bishop has made many public statements that indicate she is not a Christian, whatever else are her claims to fame) and heretics (many Episcopal bishops are publicly denying Christ, and not getting into trouble over it) that we objected to the organization's behavior. He immediately took a step back and said "I'm not hearing (listening to?) this!." So much for the 'Pisskie's vaunted "listening process." I guess they only "listen" to those they already agree with! I handed him the envelope and left him alone. I seriously doubt Wimberly, to whom it was addressed, will ever see it.

It is my opinion that Canon Doyle and his helpers had no intention, despite his nice words to the contrary, of helping, guiding, being a "good shepherd," to the hurting people in the congregation. Doyle and his bishop are now the owners of a multi-million dollar property that our congregation built and was paying for. The bishop refused to seriously negotiate with us to allow us to buy or even lease our own property. The Presiding Bishop, Princess Moonbeam, has supposedly said she'd rather see empty property become a whore house before she'll allow an Anglican congregation to have it. The Diocese's name is on the title and now they own it and the debt that goes with it. They have cast us out. They have chosen to keep whatever they wanted to keep and let the people go.

I'm going to really miss my friends from Good Shepherd Episcopal. They meant a lot to both of us. We wish them well!

I'm looking forward to next Sunday. Then, I will get to see our new congregation. You see, there are many whose choice of church is unknown to me. I am confidant that I'll be surprised, pleasantly and otherwise.

1 comment:

BillK said...

Old Army Fight! Go get em Aggie, I've got your back.

BillK

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