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A new priest-in-charge writes to the diaspora

22 November 2010

H/T:  Diaspora Oysters

The new priest-in-charge of St. Francis Episcopal Church of Springboro Ohio (http://www.saintfran.org/) has written a letter to people who have left the parish recently.  Details are sketchy at this point, but I am informed that the people left about the same time that the previous rector left, that the priest who left did not lead the exodus, and that the remnant that stayed on at St. Francis could not afford a full-time priest. 

There are some phrases that pop out at me when I read this.  Can anyone identify them? 

Here’s the text from most of the letter:

November 16, 2010

Dear                            ,

Please allow me to introduce myself. I am The Reverend __________ who has recently been called by our Lord and the Vestry of St. Francis Episcopal Church to serve as Priest-in-Charge; I so so with great joy.

I would be remiss if I did not inform you that I am fully aware of some of the serious issues that have confronted and consumed our church and have caused you not to return, the most recent issue being the National Church’s stance on same sex unions and church participation. I am happy to inform you that this subject is no longer a point of discussion and focus of St. Francis. By the grace of God, we have managed to refocus our spiritual energy on the Good News of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

For example, there isn’t any more coffee hour talk about same sex issues; and during the sermons, I preach about Jesus and what he calls us to do in our daily lives. Our Sunday School Program and our regularly scheduled Sunday services of Holy Eucharist-Rite I and II at 8:15 a.m. is being continued as well. Moreover, we are working very diligently in an effort to retain our contemporary worship service, which took place on a one Sunday per month basis.

I certainly realize that some of the events of the past were very traumatic for you and many others, all of which contributed to the recent exodus from St. Francis. In the process, we lost many faithful and gifted people like you, and, as a result, the size and energy of our community of faith diminished drastically.

The bottom line is this: We need you here with us, to help us strengthen our praise of God, and, as a result, possibly grow to what we once were. We need your God given gifts, your talents, your smiles, and your hugs. We want to share the Common Meal at the Lord’s table with you.

In the name of our Lord, please come home! Upon your return, I promise to do all in my power to make sure your personal gifts are affirmed. I shall also do my very best to make sure the primary reasons for which you come to church are honored and emphasized in godly and spiritual ways. Most of all, the good people of St. Francis simply miss your presence among them.

If you wish, please feel free to contact me. God willing, I hope to see you soon!

Faithfully,

Quiz:

1.  What is identified as a comforting characteristic of the parish, without those who went into exodus?

2.  And as a follow-up question, do you think that the absence of the ‘comforting characteristic,’ mentioned in (1) is the reason why people left the parish in the first place?

3.  Finally, is the ‘comforting characteristic,’ really all that comforting to the people who went into exodus? 

It doesn’t quite add up, does it?

– Elder

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  1. FrMichael
    23 November 2010 at 1:34 AM

    Is this parody? Was this an actual letter? It boggles to mind to think that a presumably educated person could write such a thing seriously…

    • Elder Oyster
      23 November 2010 at 4:51 AM

      ‘sF’real.

  2. Pearls Before Swine
    23 November 2010 at 3:25 AM

    I think I misread this at first. He’s not asking/hoping for all the orthodox/re-asserting Anglicans to return, that would just cause problems or those awful discussions at coffee hour to happen again. He’s asking for the few liberal/re-appraising Episcopalians who might have left (because the parish wasn’t progressive enough) to return.

    • Elder Oyster
      23 November 2010 at 4:57 AM

      Hi PBS,

      I had considered that briefly, but I do not think the theory fits the data.

      I really think that we’re reading dissonance that does not comprehend the chasm that lies before it. I’ve more comments on StandFirm.

  3. Pearls Before Swine
    24 November 2010 at 2:52 AM

    I don’t know. I suppose it could be that this PIC has been fed and bought the line that it was the former Rector who caused the new thang gozpel and sex outside of marriage to be an issue that “consumed” the church instead of being accepted and embraced. Now that the old Rector is gone “All is well” can be proclaimed and none of laity/lemmings would know any better. I still don’t think the PIC would really want any educated, Orthodox laity showing up; but he may not believe any exist.

    So my theory is 1) he only wants liberal parishioners who left to come back or, 2) he is deluded into thinking it was all the doings of the old rector and everyone who comes back will fall in line.

  4. FrMichael
    25 November 2010 at 7:26 AM

    Well, it wouldn’t surprise me to see the logo of The Onion appear on the parish’s website, but I’ll believe it to be real for now.

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