I grew up in the Episcopal Diocese of Texas, "160 congregations, located in the Eastern quadrant of Texas."
Grew up, both chronologically and into adulthood, at:
My childhood church from 5-18: Ascension, Houston
then at the Texas A&M Canterbury Ministry;
in the wilderness (though geographically still in the Dio. of Texas)
and finally, St. Francis, College Station.
As with most folks who only live in one place, I didn't then understand some things about my home diocese. Having now only lived in one other location, I can only compare it to churches in my now-home Diocese of Dallas.
And I know now (as a member of Annunciation, Lewisville) that, comparatively and generally speaking, the Diocese of Texas is very moderate, and very low-church. I never saw incense used until I came to the North, for instance. Nor reserved sacrament in a monstrance. Or even people crossing themselves, much. And the political parts of it? I don't align all that well with some in my current diocese. But I belong to a very moderate congregation - relatively speaking.
But I had an idea, formed in graduate school, that the Diocese of Fort Worth, just East of the Diocese of Dallas, was VERY, VERY high church. A friend and co-worker during those years who grew up in the DFW area told me that, while his family and their across-the street neighbors had both been Episcopalian, his family had gone to a Dallas church, and the neighbors were "Fort Worthers." They drove to a church in the Diocese to the east. "Those Fort Worthers," he would say, "they are REALLY high church." The two families vacationed and celebrated Thanksgiving together each year, but they did not ever, ever talk church politics.
As of Saturday, November 15, the Diocese of Fort Worth has been torn. Bishop Jack Iker has led a group to the Southern Cone. The Diocese of course also remains, in a new way, but the scars will take a long time to heal. It is unbelivably strange to have this happening again in my church, and so very close to home.
Katie Sherrod, amazing reporter and blogger and co-organizer of Via Media Fort Worth, posts excellent information about the outcome of the vote of the Diocese of Fort Worth to leave The Episcopal Church.
The title of this post is borrowed from her and from an event held by Via Media Fort Worth last week in Fort Worth for those who planned to stay in TEC. The complete title of the event was: The Once and Future Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth -- Dealing with the present, planning for the future. For a description of the event, read her post here.
I covet your prayers for the Episcopal Church throughout the world, and for the people who do and did comprise it. May every one of us be more aware of the needs of our neighbors than of the schisms in the ecclesiastical body. I grieve for family and friends who have left, but know that we serve the same God.
I'm off to church now - our bishop will be there - we are celebrating Confirmation!