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What are you thankful for, this Thanksgiving?

24 November 2009

Yes, this is the obligatory, “What I am thankful for, this Thanksgiving,” essay, complete with an invitation for you to write in and say what you are thank ful for as well.  Hey – it’s a blog.  This is what happens on a blog.  😉

On the other hand, this is a blog about the Episcopal Diocese of Southern Ohio;  so the essay is bound to have that particular emphasis.  😉

The first few items on my thankful-list are based on the 2009 Proctor Report, the bottom of page 5:

“The Clear Vision Capital Campaign of a few years ago included a commitment to assist in the development of new parishes and expansion of existing churches. Through a program devised by the Trustees, on a parish-by-parish basis the Procter Fund has paid the interest on commercial loans for the first three years. It has been necessary to expand the design somewhat due to individual parish circumstances, therefore, the total cost of this program is $343,000., down from 375,000 in 2008 The parishes participating are:

• St. Matthew’s/Westerville [$240,000]…”

Ah yes, St. Matthew’s Westerville.  It seems that their former rector voted (along with much of his congregation) in 2007, to leave TEC in order to enter CANA.  They were willing to work with the diocese to pay twice what they already had paid for their building negotiate so that they could keep their building, but it seems that our PB does not take kindly to exiting congregations who identify as Anglican.  Well, let me qualify that, since of course Continuing Anglicans and Reformed Episcopalians identify as ‘Anglican,’ yet aren’t afforded the same punishment treatment conciliatory gesture:  Restated, the PB does not take kindly to exiting congregations who exit TEC on her watch, who wish to identify as Anglicans.  Therefore, if your congregation falls into this category, you are apt to lose your building, unless your bishop has a spine and it is a traditionalist spine at that. 

The departing St. Matthew’s congregation found itself in this predicament, and in 2008 they vacated their building and found another.  My understanding is that it wasn’t the most pleasant of circumstances that made them decide to leave, and that finding a new parish building wasn’t as easy, in that time frame, to accomplish. 

So, here are my first few thankful items, from this story:

i)  Among the group of parishioners who left TEC, there were some that scattered to the four winds, thus depriving both the new CANA congregation and the old TEC congregation of warm bodies.  I am therefore thankful that the new (smaller) CANA congregation did not have to sit under a $20k per month mortgage payment. 

ii)  At the same time, I have been to the parish building of the new CANA congregation (i.e., to worship with them) and it seems that the building suites them quite well.  Furthermore, the property is large, which means they can expand when they are ready.  I am therefore thankful that God opened a door for them, even as a window was being closed. 

iii)  I am thankful for the character lesson that God has given to my diocese, in the form of a $20k per month mortgage payment on the St. Matthew’s building.  Perhaps the people who are responsible for managing the financial affairs of the diocese will think twice about not working with exiting congregations who feel led to withdraw from TEC.  Or, perhaps they won’t.  

iv)  I am thankful for the past two weeks of “no news” coming out of this diocese.  Sarah Hey might call this time, a ‘decompression’ of sorts;  but I would compare it to a long shower after working in a sewer for a few days. 

v)  I am thankful that I am learning more all of the time about my spiritual gifts  (funny, how you learn more about them, when you put yourself in situations where they are useful).  😉

vi)  I am thankful for my wife and child.

vii)  I am thankful for my job, especially now.

viii)  Finally, I am thankful for faithful shepherds, everywhere. 

Those are some things for which I am thankful.

What are YOU thankful for, Oysters?

– Elder

PS – I’ve got a few more Thanksgiving pieces coming up – definitely three (two historical pieces and one movie review), possibly more.  As you’ve probably figured out, my goal is to publish six times a week, regardless of whether there is news in the diocese.  Like the saying goes, “No news is good news,” something that is especially true in a Revisionist diocese like DSO.  So, if you don’t see anything newsy on the blog in a while, don’t despair ( rather, throw a party ! ), and keep checking back. 

Y’hr?  😉

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