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December 4, 2012


Fr. Gipson, once Rector of largest TEC parish, goes to Rome via Ordinariate

Earlier in the week, former Nashotah House Dean Robert Munday blogged the news that Fr. Larry Gipson is entering the Roman Catholic priesthood via the Ordinariate established by Pope Benedict XVI.

Gipson was rector of St. Martin’s, Houston, the largest Episcopal parish with a reported 8,000 members.  He also served twelve years as Dean of the Cathedral Church of the Advent in Birmingham, AL.

Along with his service to influential congregations, Gipson tried to build solid theological formation in TEC.  By email, Fr. Munday noted that Nashotah House gave Gipson an honorary doctorate and that “(Fr. Gipson) was very supportive of the efforts to renew the House in biblical orthodoxy.”

Gipson cited TEC’s disdain for theological clarity and consistency as his reason for leaving:

“The nature of authority in the Catholic Church is what attracted me to it,” Gipson said. “After I retired, I was concerned and had been for many years about the Episcopal Church’s authority structure… Anglicanism has always been hesitant to define doctrine because it has opposing factions. It has left doctrine blurry. People can believe almost mutually opposing beliefs.”

Ironically,  TEC’s current losses stem from the effort of its liberal protestant faction to impose centralized, hierarchichal leadership and ideological uniformity on the denomination.  TEC’s bureaucratic inner circle has driven whole congregations and even some dioceses out of the denomination, along with many of the denominations proven evangelists and congregational leaders.

 


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11 comments

A centralized, hierarchical structure with ideological uniformity-that is built upon the shifting sands of popular culture- doesn’t seem to be meeting with much success. I wish (the soon to be) Fr. Gipson much success in building the Ordinariate in the remaining years God gives him.

[1] Posted by via orthodoxy on 12-4-2012 at 10:30 AM · [top]

How is St Martin’s Houston doing these days?

[2] Posted by MichaelA on 12-4-2012 at 05:19 PM · [top]

It strikes me that conversions of this sort are a true guage of the denomination.  It’s one thing when a lay person leaves for another denomination, but when a leader - a senior priest or bishop - shakes off the dust you know there is serious trouble.

[3] Posted by Nikolaus on 12-4-2012 at 10:56 PM · [top]

> TEC’s bureaucratic inner circle has driven whole congregations and even some dioceses out of the denomination, along with many of the denominations proven evangelists and congregational leaders.

You make that sound like a bad thing.

Hint: If you hate Christianity then killing it - or attempting to - is the intention.  Yes, I so hold to the parasite definition of ‘liberalism.’  Schori and her ilk. good Marxists that they are, want Christianity eradicated.  TEC is just a step towards their ulimate goal… Oh, look, the Catholic Church.

[4] Posted by jedinovice on 12-5-2012 at 04:46 AM · [top]

MichaelA - It appears St. Martin’s continues to do well under Russell Levenson since 2007. They have an ASA of about 1,900, mostly recovered from a slight decline after Gipson departed (the church was pushing 2,000 ASA in 2005).

Levenson himself gave the opening prayer at this year’s Republican National Convention, about which I blogged here: http://juicyecumenism.com/2012/08/29/episcopal-priest-offers-opening-invocation-at-republican-convention/

Last year the church broke ground on a new youth center named for George and Barbara Bush, who are parishioners there. James Baker also is a longtime member, and was involved in negotiating diocesan policy on same-sex unions, of which St. Martin’s will not be blessing.

I believe that Levenson is still active with the Communion Partners group.

[5] Posted by Jeff Walton on 12-5-2012 at 01:09 PM · [top]

Yet another man of God who cannot in good conscience represent the Episcopal Church to the world, nor can he in good conscience summon sinners into its fellowship.

[6] Posted by priestwalter on 12-5-2012 at 03:28 PM · [top]

Last fall St. Martin’s hired Aaron Zimmerman as an Associate Rector.  At the time he was an Associate Rector at St. Stephen’s Sewickley (ACNA Pittsburgh).  He was also serving on the ACNA Prayer Book and Common Liturgy Task Force.  He is one of the finest priests I’ve ever been around.  If this is the sort of people St. Martin’s is hiring, they should be in very good shape…

[7] Posted by Nevin on 12-5-2012 at 04:08 PM · [top]

Jeff Walton and Nevin, thanks for that feedback.  Good to hear that clergy from ACNA can still be called to serve in TEC churches.  I hope St Martins continues its strong witness, and is protected from the rage of the liberals.

[8] Posted by MichaelA on 12-6-2012 at 12:59 AM · [top]

Michael A- Do keep in mind that calling an ACNA cleric to a TEC church is very rare, and only in those few dioceses where the bishop might allow such a thing.  And would certainly not apply to those 4-500 former TEC clergy who were deposed or “renunciated” (that misuse is on purpose, since virtually none of them actually renounced their orders) except in a diocese willing to stand up to the national church.

Also, since St. Martins is such a large part of the diocesan income and ASA, they have influence far beyond that of the median 67 ASA parish.  St. Martins has a larger ASA than many dioceses.  For that matter, their ASA is larger than the claimed membership of the local diocese in my neck of the woods.

[9] Posted by tjmcmahon on 12-6-2012 at 07:25 AM · [top]

TJ, You are correct about that very few ACNA priests (esp. those were “deposed”) would be called to a TEC parish and ONLY in a diocese willing to stand up to the national church. One of the finest priests I know is just such a priest!

[10] Posted by SC blu cat lady on 12-6-2012 at 10:07 AM · [top]

TJ, many thanks for the info.

I know its off-topic, and nothing new, but I can’t help observing that 400-500 deposed clergy is an indictment on the bishops of TEC and their presiding ‘bishop’. 

Only a paranoid, frightened, out-of-touch hierarchy would ever need to get rid of hundreds of clergy.

Oh well, every priest and bishop they depose is a bonus to ACNA, the Continuum or the Ordinariate.  Whatever happens, the Lord causes it to work for the good of His people.

[11] Posted by MichaelA on 12-9-2012 at 05:11 PM · [top]

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