Wednesday, July 22, 2009

I Still My Soul


Dear Family in Christ,

Words of comfort for this week: "I still my soul and make it quiet, like a child upon its mother's breast; my soul is quieted within me." - Ps 131

This Sunday, July 26, after worship, we need all hands on deck for meal delivery, at about 1:30.  Volunteers are welcome before then, to help prepare the meals.  Please pray for the families who will receive them.

Upcoming Events:

Monday, July 27, 7pm - Bishop's Committee meeting, open to all.

Sunday, Aug. 2, following worship, will be a re/training session for the St. James' Lectors Guild.  The class is open to anyone who feels the Spirit calling them to read the scripture passages during the liturgy, as well as read the Prayers of the People.  We will meet in the church.  A commissioning liturgy for all our lectors, new and seasoned, will take place later this summer.

Tuesday, Aug. 4, National Night Out - our neighborhood will hold its annual covered dish supper for neighbors at 10th Street Methodist Church, 410 W. Tenth at Hackberry, starting at 6:15pm.  (A good place for our new T-shirts, perhaps?!)

Finally, please pray for the following this week:

Those traveling: Pete and Nancy Tyson; Ernest and Cheri Balla.
Our budding effort to provide a lunch in September for the Habitat crew
The Johnsons, for whom the Habitat home is being built

Yours in His unfailing love,
Kelly

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A Word from your Rector



Dear Family in Christ,

With headlines offering up their version of what our Episcopal Church is up to, I thought it would be helpful for you to read what the Rt. Rev. C. Andrew Doyle, our Bishop of Texas, and the rector of St. James' Mission Church, has to say about it.  

Primarily, the no votes of all three bishops in our diocese reflected their desire to remain in the Anglican Communion.  The yes votes won.  Now, the future will tell us how the rest of that Communion determines their relationship with the Episcopal Church.

See the text just below.

See here for the ongoing blog site of the diocese on General Convention: http://edotnews.blogspot.com/

Yours in Christ,
Kelly
Vicar

TUESDAY, JULY 14, 2009

Bishop Doyle on Passage of D025 Monday

Resolution DO25 was passed by the House of Deputies on Monday and moved to the House of Bishops Monday afternoon.

The resolution, despite the headlines of a number of news organizations, was descriptive and offers a vision of where the Episcopal Church is at this time. It speaks to the fact that we are not of one mind on the issues of sexuality, that there is disagreement within the church on issues of ordination, marriage/unions. I think it reflects the reality that there are differences of opinion on how to deal with our differences.

I do not believe the house intended the passage of the resolution to be prescriptive. In other words the resolution did not pass same sex blessings, or ordinations of partnered gay and lesbians. It was not a permission giving resolution or a canonical change to our understanding of marriage.

Interestingly enough, DO25 passed in the HOD clergy order by a 2 to 1 margin, in the HOD lay order by a 2 to 1 margin, and in the HOB by a 2 to 1 margin. I do believe this shows some consistency within this body at this time.

The Diocese of Texas Deputation was divided in their vote and so their vote was registered as a "no" vote. This diversity, appointed by the people of the Diocese at Council, reflects who we are as a diocese. I thought our deputies did their discernment well. We shared together over lunch their thoughts and concerns about the church at home. They too felt as though the resolution was descriptive and not prescriptive.

Bishop High, Bishop Harrison and I each voted against the resolution as we have been and continue to be concerned regarding the repercussions throughout the Anglican Communion. And we were concerned with the idea that DO25 repeals BO33 from the 2006 General Convention. I should add most every one of the Episcopal Church's dioceses in a foreign country voted against the passage as well. Also, bishops of Dallas, Northwest Texas, Rio Grande and West Texas voted no.

There are several thoughts that seem important when reflecting on the resolution and its meaning for us in our diocese. The Diocese of Texas honors the moratorium not because of DO25 or BO33, but because of our belief that the teachings of the church on sexuality have not changed, that the Windsor Report asks the American church to refrain from election and ordination of a bishop who is living in a partnered relationship, from the development of rites for same sex blessings, and our own resolutions and canons currently have reaffirmed our views on the topic.

The House of Bishops carried on a deep debate of listening ears and open hearts. Bishop Hines once called this the "exquisite pain of being a bishop" -- living and praying through times of great division with your brother and sister bishops. This was very hard work today. I thought that the House deliberated and conversed well, prayerfully, and mindful of those who were not like minded in the room.

God's mission is greater that the passage or defeat of any resolution at this Convention. Regardless of which side of the argument you may find yourself embracing, or what you believe the best way of resolving this situation is, we have a mission that is given to us in partnership with Jesus Christ.

I believe that God intends the restoration of creation and those that live within it. I believe that God intends the incarnational body of Christ in the church to be the chief instrument in this work. God intends the Episcopal Church as a member of the worldwide Communion to be a part of this restoration. No resolution will get in the way of this work, nor can it resend the love and providence of God to offer both blessings and challenges.

I will continue to lead us as a Diocese as a member of the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion. I have plans to be in London in the Fall for a Compass Rose meeting and believe this will be a good time to get a sense of the communion's response.

I am concerned about how this affects our people in every manner of life and relationship, in every congregation. How will this affect our relationship with one another? Nevertheless, our history tells us that we can move through this together and by continuing to focus on the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

I have already asked Canon Case, Janie Stevens, and Cecilia Smith to help me design a pastoral and small group program for congregations to respond to the actions of General Convention and enable me and the leadership of the diocese to receive feedback regarding strategies in dealing with the pastoral issues which arise out of the actions of this convention.

The Diocese of Texas has self-differentiated itself by Council on the issues of sexuality and the church's teaching on marriage, which is a more traditional stance. I do not believe that the Diocese is prepared to change that stance. It is with greater clarity, I believe that we now see the reality of the church within which and from which we do our ministry.

I should say that the work of this week is not over. We have many more important resolutions to follow. We need to see how the rest of the week continues to play out and what the reactions of the greater communion will be.

Bishop Gary Lillibridge hosted a wonderful gathering for the Diocese of Texas and West Texas deputations. It was a very good time to be together and to have fellowship. Afterwards we had the deputation dinner and broke bread together. This was an important time and while we spoke some of the business of the day, there was also laughter, reconnecting friendships, and new relationships born out of the evening. I think we were again reminded of our deep communion relationships built upon the foundation of Jesus Christ.

I hope you will keep our deputation in your prayers as we continue to move through ever longer legislative days.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Taking Part in the Lord's Work


Dear Church Family,

Praise the Lord.  How good it is to sing praises to our God...He heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds. - Ps 147.

Come worship the God of Israel, known through Jesus Christ, this Sunday, 10am at St. James' Church.  Our journey through the story of King David continues in the sermon - this week, David dances before the ark.  Sermon title: Welcoming the Lord in our Midst.

After worship:
Your church invites you to learn further how to take part in God healing the broken-hearted.  Come hear Christie Johnson from the Williamson County Habitat for Humanity program talk with us about how St. James' can be involved in the new Habitat program already at work in Taylor.  

Other news:

Our St. James', Taylor "You've Got a Friend" T-shirts are IN!  They are $12 each.  Please allow those who placed an order for them to purchase theirs first.  Please make your checks to St. James' Church.  We should have plenty left over, however.

Prayer requests:
Continued recovery for Elizabeth and Pamela; and for their caregivers, Rob and Bill.
Peace for Lou Bergstrom's family following the loss of her brother, Sam.

The Episcopal Church's General Convention, the national decision-making body that meets every 3 years, is currently going on in Anaheim, California (July 8-17).  See this website for more details:  http://www.epicenter.org/eventcalendar.asp?CID=2&txtEventID=479&cdEventCurrentDate=7/8/2009&SNID=1219117016

In His peace, your pastor,
Kelly