Friends at Grace and St. Stephen's Episcopal Church of Colorado Springs, have sent me a DVD of their first year in exile. It is a wonderful and indeed amazing witness to the life of the community of Episcopalians who have continued to be Grace and St. Stephens, Episcopal Diocese of Colorado. Their website is HERE. You can see the DVD online by downloading and then viewing it on your computer. It can be downloaded from the Grace and St. Stephens Episcopal Church website. It is on the left side near the bottom of the page.
The Rev. Donald Armstrong and a part of the congregation left the Episcopal Church and aligned with the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA). Armstrong and company maintain that they are in place by right and can do as they please with the property. The Diocese, of course, contests this. The Grace and St. Stephen's website gives a detailed list of the activities in the legal case against Fr. Armstrong and company. The legal proceedings page is HERE. In particular the statement by the Diocese on May 14th is of interest. In it Clelia deMoraes, Senior Warden states, “Indeed, Father Armstrong himself admitted to the parish in a written report prior to his decision to leave The Episcopal Church, that ‘the church property legally belongs to the Bishop and the Diocese.”
All of that will play out, but the good news of the moment is that exile has some blessings attached: the parish is vital and doing what it knows best - being an Episcopal Church. The people have found new ecumenical companions, reaffirmed their life together and found new energy as a welcoming community. In return from the exile from their parish it is to be hoped that they not forget what they have learned in this sojourn. This has been a difficult time for those parishioners who wished to continue as members of the Episcopal Church. Still there is much to be thankful about in being able to continue as a congregation.
Next year may you be in your beloved church again.