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Rio Grande bishop writes pastoral letter about ordinariate

Rio Grande bishop writes pastoral letter about ordinariate

The Lead has been covering news on the Anglican Ordinariate, including The Rt. Rev. Andrew Doyle’s excellent framing of how it might be regarded.


This is a letter of a different sort: a pastoral letter by The Rt. Rev Dr. Michael L. Vono, bishop of The Episcopal Diocese of the Rio Grande.

The recent news from Vatican City announcing that Pope Benedict XVI has named my predecessor Father Jeffery Neil Steenson to lead the new “Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter” has evoked in some a sense of disillusionment, betrayal, sadness, and confusion.

The letter is gracious in tone towards those who have or will depart, while expressing thoughtful vision to the Episcopalians who will go forward as the Diocese of Rio Grande:

I also want to share the joy, hope, and love I have experienced not only within our growing and changing Diocese, but within the entirety of the Episcopal Church. We are God’s people determined to spread the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, and this is experienced through the caring pastoral work of thousands of our Churches throughout the United States. We are experiencing growth at all levels; young families are increasingly joining congregations; college students and young adults are rediscovering the excitement and grace of a lively faith; displaced and outcast people are feeling welcomed and coming to our communities; and our national and international Church’s mission and outreach ministries are touching the lives of millions. In short, the Episcopal Church is alive and growing. We wish our brothers and sisters peace; however, for me and so many others it is a blessed and exciting time to be an Episcopalian.

The full letter is posted on the ENS website.

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Kurt Wiesner

Tim,

I’m not sure if I agree that the writing has been “pretty glum.” Serious at times without out doubt (likely the New Year factor), but I wouldn’t say glum.

In this article, I’m actually rather hopeful in the tone of the bishop’s letter: it is gracious towards those who are leaving while focused on the “joy, hope, and love” that has been created in something new.

Still, I would agree with you that we need to share what is working in Episcopal Churches, as well as focusing a critical eye on what is not.

I am also in a growing parish here in northern NH that is an incredible community, of which I am excited to be part of. I’m glad to hear that you are as well

Kurt

Tim Sean

I have noticed that lately the writing at the Cafe has been pretty glum about the decline of the national church (could we maybe save it for Lent or something?).

Our parish in Oklahoma has been growing these past few years, in many respects in tandem with the progressive arc of the national church–attracting people who have an interest in issues of Christian faith but who had grown weary of the rigid and mean-spirited polemical atmosphere in most of Oklahoma Christendom. To be fair, not every parish in our Diocese has had the same luck, but many have. Maybe what we need is some reporting on growth stories to balance out the very real aspect of decline in many of our parishes.

I’m not dismissing the dire situation we face, but there are parishes turning the tide.

E Sinkula

The Episcopal Church I attend in St. Paul MN has been growing every year. Not by leaps and bounds, but many of our newcomers are from a variety of traditions: Catholic, Evangelical, Lutheran, Baptist and so on.

Kraut1701

The church may be alive, but by what stretch of the imagination is it growing? That’s not the reality on the ground. Every Episcopal church I’ve been in in the past couple of years has only been about a third full on non-holiday Sundays.

Morris Post

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