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Breaking Up is Hard to Do

Tuesday, December 19, 2006 • 6:00 am

The Journey of Christ Church, Plano: Part I

I left with my senior warden. Before he drove out of the parking lot, I asked him to pull up to the front door one more time. I ran inside and hugged and wept over every one of the staff I could find as I said my goodbyes. These were people I had known for decades: the receptionist, the administrative assistants, the accountants, the missioners, and the staff. They were people whom I knew well and knew I would never know again in the same way.


The Rev. Canon David Roseberry is rector of Christ Church in Plano, Texas. Until September 15, 2006, when it announced its departure from the denomination, Christ Church was the largest single parish in the Episcopal Church, with an average Sunday attendance larger than that of the entire Diocese of Nevada.


In the year 2000, during construction of the main nave of Christ Church, I buried two things under the giant concrete slab of our main worship space. I did it quietly and secretly. The site was fenced off to all but construction hard-hats. I did it one evening before darkness fell. The project was in the ‘foundation’ stage and the slab was going to be poured soon. The re-bar was in, the footings were in place, and the wire mesh was everywhere. And just before sunset my wife and I trekked into the center of the church, where the aisles would one day meet the chancel steps. I brought a garden shovel and dug a small hole in the ground. We were going to commemorate the work of this parish by using two symbols. I opened my bible to the passage of the Great Commission, read the passage, and placed the bible in the opening. On the open page of Matthew’s 28th chapter, I placed a Canterbury cross I purchased the summer before at a gift shop in England. We prayed together for our church and its future… and covered the spot with dirt.

A Bible and a Cross… an Anglican Cross… mark the center of Christ Church. So it was then. As it is now. And by God’s Grace, it will remain so.

The decisions that our church made in 2006 were actions to protect the biblical integrity and the Anglican future of Christ Church.

In September of 2006, we (the Christ Church vestry, clergy, and I) signed the legal documents to withdraw from the Episcopal Church and the Diocese of Dallas. We settled with the bishop and the Standing Committee and Trustees for what proves now to be a fair and mutual agreement. In the past four months our church, our vestry, our staff, and our mission have slowly but assuredly reacted to these seismic events. They were not taken lightly and suddenly. And they were not taken without cost—both personally, professionally, and pastorally. But as I write this essay, I also give thanks to God for His incredible faithfulness to me and our community of faith.

I can still remember where I was when it all hit me. I was at the Columbus General Convention Eucharistic Celebration on whatever day it was that Katherine Jefferts Schori gave her opening sermon. I got mixed up on the times and my wife and I were late for the huge mega-event. The advance billing of her first sermon as the PB-elect had been huge and I thought she might have a word of hope.

She had already begun when Fran and I walked softly across the back of the huge cavernous hall. Several thousands of worshippers were already seated. I really didn’t listen to the opening lines of the sermon. I was intent on being rather invisible and I was watching my steps carefully. But I wished I had listened. I would have picked up on the style of the new PB-elect. She was playful and casual with her images. She was saying something about running and seeing rabbits that didn’t seem to fit the moment. But I walked on and finally stopped in the very back of the conference hall.

A bishop in the church, a prominent leader among the moderate center, approached me on my right. Fran was on my left. From the podium, the PB-elect said something about “Mother Jesus.” I leaned over to the left and asked Fran, “Did she just say what I think she said?” Fran nodded and repeated the phrase, “Mother Jesus.” Then I lean to the right and whispered to the bishop, “We are in trouble… big trouble.” He nodded in agreement.

When the new PB-elect finished her sermon, I cleared my throat and our bishop friend pointed to the exit and whispered, “Can I buy you both a cup of coffee?” We left the room with him… and that began our exodus away from the Episcopal Church.

Frankly, I had hoped I could have stayed within the Episcopal Church. The battle for the soul of ECUSA is also a major battle in the culture. Anyone with children knows how terribly worrisome and treacherous it is to raise children in a culture with so much sexual brokenness. If the Windsor Report had not been rejected (which it was) and the MDG not been embraced whole hog (which they were) I would still be an Episcopal priest. I would have stayed for Round 4 or 5 or whatever the next General Convention would have been. It is (was) a battle worth engaging. But what the PB-elect showed me, and what I should have realized beforehand, is this: The sexually permissive agenda of ECUSA is not an isolated aberration of teaching or practice. It is the outworking of a whole package of Biblically hostile, intellectually sloppy and historically arrogant thinking that has taken over the Episcopal Church. The new PB sounded like a Gnostic - a la the Da Vinci Code - because her theology, perspectives and priorities are not rooted in the old revelation but in the “new thing” that we keep hearing about.

I had weighed quite a bit in my thoughts and prayers over the last few years. But my prayer life went into overdrive. What was I finally going to do? My connections within the Episcopal Church were voluminous. They ran everywhere and they were deep. My son was a newly ordained priest serving as an Episcopal priest in the Diocese of Dallas. I had many lay and ordained friends in the Episcopal Church. Only six weeks earlier I was elected as the Chairman of the Board of Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry. In the next four months I was due to become the president of the Standing Committee of the Diocese of Dallas. I was one of the three longest standing members of the Diocese of Dallas. I had 24 years in the pension plan. I had many friends who knew and admired the planting of Christ Church 21 years earlier. And the congregation was totally united. In a recent survey conducted in May of 2006, our parish saw itself as a united fellowship in tune with each other and God’s vision for our ministry.

All of this went into the mix of prayer and discernment right after the General Convention. I took to heart the words of Jesus in Luke 14. It is not a bad thing to stop and count the cost before you venture out on a task. So I thought long and hard. In fact, I had been thinking about this choice that I saw coming for many years.

There were reasons to stay, but they all centered on my personal ministry and career issues. But there was also a growing list of reasons why we needed to leave ECUSA. We had five major issues facing us if we had decided to stay within ECUSA:

First, we would start to lose our core leadership. The church and I in particular, had become publicly identified with the resistance movement. In June of 2006 alone, I did almost 30 media interviews. The people of our church were zeroed in on the issues and ready to react. They heard me say before the General Convention that what I was hoping for was ‘clarity’ about the direction of ECUSA. After the convention, we all agreed, we had clarity. If I had faltered, they would not have.

Second, we had more buildings to build to accommodate our growth and I had already postponed a much needed capital campaign due to the distress within ECUSA. In fact, in October of 2005, I had called the vestry, staff, and core leadership to a season of prayer about our status within the Episcopal Church. This was not window dressing. If we were going to stay we were going to have to build buildings and pay off debt with the national and diocesan canons declaring that they had a ‘trust’ or an ‘interest’ in our property.

Third, we were beginning lose our sense of mission and purpose. I could feel it in my preaching and I could see it in our congregation. Our leaders were started to get focused and over-interested in the drama of the Anglican Communion. I was too. I was spending way to much time on blogs and phones trying to sort our strategies and organize events that would galvanize ordained leadership. Was I putting that kind of effort into reaching people for Christ? I knew I had been distracted… and so was the congregation.

Fourth, we were sensing that the new PB-elect would have a much more directive role in property disputes and negotiated settlements once she was in office. She doesn’t know me… but I remember her from a church growth work-group I participated in many years ago. She was the bishop of Nevada and while her diocese hadn’t seen growth over the last decade, I did not find her to be without opinions and ideas. She had strong feelings and heady notions of how churches could grow. And I remember that she had stubbornness and tenacity for her own ideas that I think will be borne out in her work at 815.

Finally, I saw that the church debate had changed over the previous three years. In previous conventions and conferences, the discussion of the sexual doctrines of the church was a biblical discussion. It was centered on what the Bible has to say about our families, our marriages, our sexual urges and God’s call to a life in purity. But more recently the biblical truth was not being debated. The Windsor Report had successfully changed the subject. It turned the debate to a nearly impossible argument to win: unity. The discussion of the church was not now about “if” one side was right or wrong in what was taught, but rather “how” we could all get along with each other.

When the vestry and I met after General Convention we had been weighing all of this in our minds and hearts for over 18 months. In fact, the vestry seldom spoke about anything else than the issues facing the church. Our parish was headed in one direction, and the Episcopal Church had confirmed their direction in a wholly different direction. We simply ran out of road together. A fork in the road came… and we took it.

The first few months over the summer as we announced our intention to disassociate (in June 2006) we were filled with an adrenaline rush of activity. We were pushing the outside of the envelope and we knew it. We were working with a legal team from California to give us an assessment of our property status within the state of Texas. We were in regular communication with the Bishop of Dallas and his chancellors. Our chancellor and vestry were busy preparing the founding documents for the new Christ Church. We were closing in on a settlement with the Diocese.

When people would get wind of our work they would ask why. Why are you trying to leave the Diocese of Dallas? Bishop Stanton is regarded as a hero. Why not stand with him? And the answer always had to do with the future. We loved our bishop and we had stood by him for his entire episcopate… and he had stood by us and in particular, stood by me. However, Bishop Stanton had made his position quite clear: He did not intend to leave the Episcopal Church and he was not going to lead the Diocese of Dallas out of the Episcopal Church. But he was willing to work with any congregation whose mission would be hindered by continued connection to ECUSA.

Our goals were be upfront and be generous. We didn’t want any bad blood between the Dallas diocese and Christ Church. We wanted to give them every financial consideration that we could afford. The bishop didn’t want to permanently harm the ministries of the diocese, to which we had been contributing close to $450,000 per year. And we didn’t want to have to pay for our buildings and grounds twice. By God’s grace, Jim Stanton had the pastoral heart to put the whole legal contract for withdrawal under the terms of a “pastoral judgment” from his office.

The details were made public after the deal had been signed. Christ Church had paid for everything it owned over the last 21 years without any help from the diocese, save a small stipend up front. The bishop and our wardens agreed to a pre-paid, devolving assessment over a period of the next five years. We totaled it up, borrowed the money, and paid the diocese with a check for $1.2 million dollars.

In September, I sat with the Standing Committee and read my letter of withdrawal. I wept tears and experienced one of the greatest senses of loss and sadness I had ever felt. I was saying goodbye to colleagues and friends, my bishop, my past, and I was saying goodbye to the future I had thought I had been preparing for. I was weeping. Everyone in the room showed deep emotion.

I left with my senior warden. Before he drove out of the parking lot, I asked him to pull up to the front door one more time. I ran inside and hugged and wept over every one of the staff I could find as I said my goodbyes. These were people I had known for decades: the receptionist, the administrative assistants, the accountants, the missioners, and the staff. They were people whom I knew well and knew I would never know again in the same way.

God made my Senior Warden for this moment. On the way back from the diocesan office, we processed the meeting and shared our reactions to it. I was both elated and exhausted. The meeting was over and so was my life and ministry in the Episcopal Church. I do not take these things lightly. My warden was a great friend and gave comfort to me on the drive back.

I went home and fell apart at the kitchen table. Fran and I cried and cried together. I heard later that the bishop went to his office and wept after the Standing Committee meeting. A deep sense of sadness came over me for the next few days. There was great loss. I loved the church and I lamented what needed to be done. But it was done. Relief. Sadness. Hope. Regret. They all came at once and lasted for many days.

The following Sunday I told each of our five services what we had accomplished. I didn’t expect hoots or applause. I didn’t want them. What we had been through was very hard and I felt little sense of joy and victory.

The next few weeks were difficult all the way around. I noticed that attendance and giving were off a bit. I noticed that the sense of celebration that we usually have on Sunday was more subdued one week and then a bit forced the next. We had had a major death in the parish (one of my best friends) which was announced on a Sunday following, too. They were days of deep grief.

One afternoon, I was sullen and sitting on my family room sofa. Fran knew my mood and she knew that sometimes music will work to cheer me up. She brought me my guitar and said, in as directive a tone as I have ever heard her utter, “Here… play something. God always uses music to cheer you up.” I took the instrument and strummed a few chords… in a minor key!

Then, in the back of my mind, some lovely tune from an ancient chant began to press its way forward. My fingers found the notes and my heart heard the words. “Of the Father’s love begotten, ‘ere the world began to be. He is Alpha and Omega. He the source, the ending, He. Of the things that are and have been. And that future worlds shall see. Ever more and ever more.” I sang under my breath the ancient words and they ministered to me in a might way. My spirit connected to that lifeline of music and hope. I didn’t feel anything else for the moment except somehow held in the Father’s hands. Cupped in His Hands. Protected. Strengthened.

We had launched a major capital campaign only a few weeks after General Convention because we knew now we were going to withdraw and we could move forward with our plans. This timing was difficult - there were literally only 23 hours between the announcement that we had received the title to our property and the public launch of the capital campaign! In hindsight, it would have been better for a bit more time to help the church understand its new status. But as the weeks went by, we were able to turn the campaign into a way that the church did get to know itself again.
Things turned out well. Praise God! I began to get back ‘on message’. The congregation shook off the trauma and drama of the previous few months. Attendance picked back up to levels we were at last year. We are growing again. The leadership got behind the capital campaign and on Thanksgiving Eve I was able to announce a total victory for the future of Christ Church. We made three-year pledges for 9.2 million dollars over and above the operating fund giving.

As we celebrate that victory we give thanks to God for his provision and leadership. It has been hard, demanding, and it has taught me more about faith than most any other event in my ministry. I think now about our future and I hear in the back of my mind another quote… but this one not from an ancient chant but from the children’s story of Peter Pan? Where to? “Second star to the right, then straight on till morning… ” What a line! What a future! Where will our future lead us?

That is the subject of my next article.


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Comments:

Thank you for posting this.  It is well worth reading.  The thought process, intellectual and emotional honesty of his account are so valuable to all who are trying to lead in this troubled time.  I sent it on to my entire vestry.

[1] Posted by Timothy Fountain on 12-19-2006 at 07:50 AM • top

This has encouraged me greatly.  It is powerful and so moving and so timely in this week when Truro, the Falls Church et al have voted to leave. The part about his singing “Of the Father’s Love begotten” especially resonates this Advent season, and reminds us we can entrust ourselves to the Father’s care and know His love as an unchangeable anchor.

Thank you David+ for sharing so openly.

It’s good to hear CCP is moving forward and growing again.  I only hope we parishes in VA will be able to say the same in 6 months or so, that we won’t still be fighting property battles, etc. that continue to hinder us from moving forward into the new vision God has given us.

[2] Posted by Karen B. on 12-19-2006 at 08:17 AM • top

Thanks, Greg for posting this. Father David, if you happen to see this at SF (you visit from time to time, as I read your comments) please know that I and a multitude of others thank you for your sacrifice, your courage and your faithfulness. Your website and particularly your archived sermons have brought me through many a dark day, as I’ve told you before. I mention your site here, as I’m sure it would bless others to avail themselves of your online ministry. I shall share this article with as many as I can reach.  Our family loves you and Fran and have since 1989, but even more so now because of your sacrifice. I hereby commit anew to pray fervently for you and all of Christ Church…a bright beacon for our troubled waters. May the Lord continue to lift up the light of his countenance upon you and give you Peace.
Merlena Cushing

[3] Posted by merlenacushing on 12-19-2006 at 08:30 AM • top

merlenacushing:

Fr. David wrote this specifically for Stand Firm and we are very honored.

[4] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 12-19-2006 at 08:40 AM • top

Thank you, Fr. Roseberry for this essay.  It’s magnificent.  I found these words especially hit home, and I pray that we will all ponder them:

Our leaders were started to get focused and over-interested in the drama of the Anglican Communion. I was too. I was spending way to much time on blogs and phones trying to sort our strategies and organize events that would galvanize ordained leadership. Was I putting that kind of effort into reaching people for Christ? I knew I had been distracted… and so was the congregation.

[5] Posted by Phil on 12-19-2006 at 08:42 AM • top

David is one of the purest men I know.  I love him.  Every bishop in the Anglican Communion should read this.

[6] Posted by Tory on 12-19-2006 at 08:52 AM • top

Tory wrote:

Every bishop in the Anglican Communion should read this.

Absolutely.  If TEC’s HOB, GC, Exec. Council and other bureaucracies were in any way leaders, they would care about their impact upon congregations and people “in the field.”  I think Roseberry’s description of KJS as having strong opinions about growth but no record of growth leadership says it all.  Blind leaders take trusting people into a pit.

[7] Posted by Timothy Fountain on 12-19-2006 at 09:03 AM • top

With all due respect to Fr. Roseberry and CCP, they abandoned Bishop Stanton and the faithful congregations of the diocese when they chose to walk away. Because their voting delegation is gone, there is no hope of ever having a majority vote to do what is necessary to have the diocese of dallas remain faithful to the anglican communion. What they did was nothing less than cutting and running.

[8] Posted by bcann1175 on 12-19-2006 at 12:03 PM • top

Thank you for this article! I haunted that I may have revealed too much of the humanity of the our situations. Christ Church, Plano is in one of the best was to part ways. I think post laike these are good, while I appreciate the “onward Christian soldier” people have give me on these boards, it’s not easy. There are some rough sleeping night for my friends on staff, their not concern about bishops coming in and locking doors or breaking into offices or vestries fired, their cooncerned about taking children to the denist this month, not next. Okay so federal law demand COBRA & all that, but there is a breaking, a entering into the unknown, so many “what if’s!”

There was great loss. I loved the church and I lamented what needed to be done. But it was done. Relief. Sadness. Hope. Regret. They all came at once and lasted for many days.

Thess sentenses make the article! I’m glad there are amicable separation like Christ Church, or strong ones like Viginia, where the humanity can be shown. CT or CA were in too hostile of fights, so not a inch of weakness should be shown. People need to know this so they will come around the clergy and staff in support and comfort.

Post like this also are good for +Stanton and every bishop to read that these stands are not done in malice and they are not easy. I suspect +Stanton know that. We all need to be praying for our clergy and staff, time like these just highlight that more.

Bless you Rev. Roseberry for sharing this with us.

[9] Posted by Hosea6:6 on 12-19-2006 at 02:14 PM • top

bcann1175, +Stanton’s decision, right or wrong, to stay in TEC indefinitely put Christ Church and like-minded congregations in a very difficult position.  I’ll leave at that because this thread is no place for a blame game.

[10] Posted by Newbie Anglican on 12-19-2006 at 02:37 PM • top

Not placing blame, just stating fact. Now that the standing committee is preventing other like-minded congregations from the opportunity to leave shows that letting Christ Church go has backfired. They should have been patient enough to wait until February.

[11] Posted by bcann1175 on 12-19-2006 at 02:51 PM • top

First, we would start to lose our core leadership… Second, we ...had already postponed a much needed capital campaign due to the distress within ECUSA…..  Third, we were beginning lose our sense of mission and purpose…

I have seen that dynamic at my own parish, as well as others. Given the current dynamics, you just can’t maintain a vibrant orthodox parish in TEC over a long period of time.

[12] Posted by Going Home on 12-19-2006 at 02:59 PM • top

bcann1175,

There is no guarantee that anything at all significant will happen at the Primate’s meeting, so why castigate CCP for following their conscience?  February will tell it’s own story, and in the meantime, we all must do as we feel best for our own unique situation.  Yes, their voting constituency may have benefited Dio Dallas; but, then again, perhaps not, since there are no further diocesan meetings scheduled.  We cannot just stay in the hopes that the makeup of SCs will be to our advantage later.  Nor can we stay in the hope of another meeting, another convention, another listening engagement or process making any real difference.

God bless CC Plano, and the Virginia 6, or 8, or 10, or whatever is to be the final count, the Connecticutt 6, the North Florida Anglican Fellowship, and all of the rest of us!

[13] Posted by Fr. Chip, SF on 12-19-2006 at 03:15 PM • top

Garbage… their departure has all but crippled our diocese. If Stanton does not act after the February meetings, then and only then will it be appropriate to leave. He will show his true colors. Do not misinterpret my displeasure for CCP actions as sympathy for Schori and her agenda. She disgusts me. However, we are not a congregational church… YET. Their fleeing was a lack of faith, not a leap of faith.

[14] Posted by bcann1175 on 12-19-2006 at 03:29 PM • top

“The sexually permissive agenda of ECUSA is not an isolated aberration of teaching or practice. It is the outworking of a whole package of Biblically hostile, intellectually sloppy and historically arrogant thinking that has taken over the Episcopal Church.”

So, can WO be defended in this context?  Yes, the whole package means the WHOLE package.

[15] Posted by Laurence K Wells on 12-19-2006 at 03:34 PM • top

bcann1175,

“However, we are not a congregational church… YET. Their fleeing was a lack of faith, not a leap of faith.”

Not only have you spoken ill of an honorable man with your implication cowardice (“cut and run”) but you are also absolutely wrong with regard to his decision.

As articles 19 plainly states:

XIX. Of the Church.

The visible Church of Christ is a congregation of faithful men, in which the pure Word of God is preached, and the Sacraments be duly ministered according to Christ’s ordinance, in all those things that of necessity are requisite to the same.

The question is not whether CCP is a “congregationalist” church. The question is whether TEC remains part of the true church in keeping with article 19 above.

If you answer that question with a “yes” even a qualified “yes” then you must stay.

If you answer that question “no” then, especially if you lead a flock, in keeping with the scriptures, you had better get your people into the true Church as fast as possible..

[16] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 12-19-2006 at 03:46 PM • top

Matt, with all due respect, what exactly have I said about CCP or Roseberry for that manner, that is ill-willed? If the truth is ill-willed, then so be it. They made the wrong decision. It was a selfish one that has far reaching ramifications in our diocese. They thought only of themselves and not of their like-minded Anglican brothers and sisters, or thier Bishop, who needed their delegation to move forward in remaining a part of the Anglican communion. No one make like hearing that, but it’s the truth.

[17] Posted by bcann1175 on 12-19-2006 at 04:03 PM • top

Different strokes for different folks. Some will stay. Some will leave. Ultimately, the fact that more and more are “leaving” suggests a gradually increasing clarity is occuring. The timing could be perfect for reuniting under a common flag. The titanic is clearly sinking. Many forays have been made into the hold to bring up the silver and valuables. Many more people have been placed into lifeboats than I thought was possible. Eventually all who don’t get off will be drug down with the ship, but that does not mean that any of us should judge the motives of those who stay/leave at this or that point.

The next phase is for all, or hopefully most, of the lifeboats to meet up at some common assembly point, produce leaders, and try to get back to the mainland (AC) in some organized fashion. Some lifeboat captains will feel they don’t want to link up and that they like being small and having a greater control over their boat’s direction. Others will see the need to regroup. Alot of these choices will depend on the theology of those boat captains and their degree of humility and idealism/pragmatism.

Fortunately, God is in charge and for the Christian, there is ultimately no such thing as tragedy.

[18] Posted by Capn Jack Sparrow on 12-19-2006 at 04:18 PM • top

bcann1175,

Your suggestion of dereliction in your first post is certainly ill willed. Why not just say, his leaving has, in your opinion placed the bishop in a tough spot?

If, in fact, TEC is not the Church then it is those who remain active participants in an organization that leads countless souls into the darkness that are in error.

[19] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 12-19-2006 at 04:22 PM • top

I respectfully disagree Matt… sorry. Cutting and running is cutting and running, and that’s what they did. A spade is a spade. You may not like the verbiage, but it’s the truth none the less. It made everything much more difficult for the now faithful minority left in this diocese.

[20] Posted by bcann1175 on 12-19-2006 at 04:29 PM • top

bcann—respectfully, I don’t think it was “letting Christ Church go” is accurate.  Roseberry++ knew the dynamics in his own church and the consequences of waiting. I suspect sure he also had an inkling that Bishop Stanton was not willing to proceed with strong alternative oversight or seperation movement at this time.

I suspect Feb. will contain good news, but it will not be the silver bullet that you may looking for. There will never be a risk or cost free time to leave. It’s a matter with which each of us has, or will, earnestly contend.

[21] Posted by Going Home on 12-19-2006 at 04:32 PM • top

bcann1175:

My very first post is on a thread in which people felt +Stanton had betrayed them. One commentor was either a good friend or has a lot of respect for +Stanton. My screen name because I felt compelled rebuke someone for an error that logically threaten the whole Reformation & could equally be applied to ++KJS or +VGR, but this commentor I do not believe saw that in his defense of +Stanton, I may know who I addressed personally & thought a nameless rebuke would go farther. The verse is because EVERYONE seemed to be lacking charity, so it was a subtle rebuke on everyone (also a good reminder of Matt 5:43-45 when I post, probably like clergy driving with collar in traffic are reminded about their behavior).

Okay, I know VERY little about your situation in Texas, we’ve been having our own fun. One thing that strikes me is that there are many hurting people. Some like your self who feel betrayed by those whio left, others who have left are on SF saying they feel by everyone except LEMs, acolytes and lawn care personnel. There seems to be a lot of pain.

I’m the biggest hypocrite on this planet when I write as I am in a process of letting go of a betrayal where IMHO clergy and leadership have shamed the name of Christ (NOT where I go now). It hurts and there is no excuse I accept for what was done. Now that you have my prospective, we both need to let go and let Jesus sort this out. He is big enough to handle all of us. In fact often my prayer is for justice in the form of discipline, but I include myself, for none of us could stand before His Holiness and all of us need fall short of His glory, by grace the Father disciplines us so that we may become like His Son.

Please let go of your sense betrayal and pray for them. Pray that yourself and they will be conformed into the image of Christ, you can pray the same for me and my situation.

[22] Posted by Hosea6:6 on 12-19-2006 at 04:36 PM • top

bcann;
Until July, I supported Stanton and the leadership of the Diocese of Dallas.  Until July, I supported my Rector at Annunciation/Lewisville, led a ministry in that parish, and was a Novice in the Third Order/The Society of St Francis.  Until July, I had NO reason to doubt Stanton.  But then, in July, I heard one thing out of his mouth and another thing through the media.  Bold statements made at St Matthew’s on 9 July became less bold in the Dallas Morning News the very next day…less bold over the following weeks…and, by the time Dallas voted to do NOTHING in October, my family and I had seen enough and left TEC.  Roseberry saw the same things, and acted.  Christ Church saw into the future, and wanted NO part of it.  Stanton, Neal Michell, and others in positions of power want to maintain the status quo because it is hard to walk away from pensions, power, and property.  That is, until you take that first step.  But I would rather spend the next 5 years in an LCMS church that meets in a school than 5 minutes in the false church TEC has become.  And I can assure you—come February, Stanton and Dallas will remain firmly part of TEC.  God bless David Roseberry!
-Jeff

[23] Posted by Puritan Souls on 12-19-2006 at 07:09 PM • top

I can’t help but share some of bcann’s frustrations…but appreciate this open and frank discussion of Fr. Roseberry’s decisions during those tough times.  I pray CCP has continued success and growth on all levels.  I also pray that as developments take place internationally and nationally, that CCP will someday rejoin the rest of us, faithful Anglicans in Dallas who are still in Episcopal Churches.  Does CCP intend to rejoin us when a new Anglican structure in Dallas appears on the scene?

[24] Posted by Dallasman on 12-19-2006 at 07:43 PM • top

Can we all heed Newbie Anglican’s words that “this thread is no place for a blame game”?  Any argument takes two.  Let us not be one of them.
Peace.

[25] Posted by Spencer on 12-19-2006 at 08:04 PM • top

bcann1175,

It’s well-known that we run a pretty loose ship around here regarding what you can say in comments. However, before you continue down the road of blaming Fr. Roseberry and CCP for any problems you may now being experiencing, I encourage you to examine your own role in this crisis, and in particular ask yourself this question: What were you doing 3, 6, 9 years ago to make Dallas a diocese in which CCP could in good conscience stay? Is it possible you were doing… nothing?

Has your parish been strained to the breaking point by the nonsense in the national church? If not, then you’ve been blessed. But what if the shoe was on the other foot, and your parish leadership decided that the only right course was to leave the diocese? You wouldn’t have characterized your departue as “cutting and running.”

We are adamant around here that those who have chosen to stay have no business condemning those who have left, and vice-versa.

When it comes to conservative Episcopalians looking for someone to blame for the mess they’re in, they should look at themselves first.

[26] Posted by Greg Griffith on 12-19-2006 at 08:16 PM • top

Clearly I have struck a nerve of those who hold the the church and priest of which we speak in such high regard. I guesss we must agree to disagree. I pray no ill-will upon CCP and the like… I am a believer in their cause… as passionate, if not more so. HOWEVER, We are still one church, however dysfunctional we may be. And until we have something to jump ship to that is endorsed by the Anglican communion, we have the ACN. That is our safe haven and that is our sanctuary. I too have my doubts about the leadersip of our diocese, as I have said many times on numerous threads. But until the new Anglican church of the USA is formed, I have to have faith in our Bishop. If he does not act, then it will be time to make a decision. I believe that time will be February. If Stanton proves to be who he claims to be, then we will move forward within the Anglican communion. If not, well then it will be time to move, but only then.

These bigger churches leaving are crippling their Anglican brothers and sisters. Period. No one can convince me otherwise. What bothers me the most is if the diocese of Dallas ultimately moves out of TEC and into the AC in the USA, CCP will come begging back, showing their allegiance to our Bishop. We who are left will have done all the fighting… CCP should have stayed to fight with us.

“You wouldn’t have characterized your departue as ‘cutting and running.’” - As a matter of fact I would have, and would not have supported such a move. Not yet anyway.

“And I can assure you—come February, Stanton and Dallas will remain firmly part of TEC.” - If this is the case (and you are most likely right), then it will be time to walk away, but not before then.

[27] Posted by bcann1175 on 12-19-2006 at 11:13 PM • top

“And I can assure you—come February, Stanton and Dallas will remain firmly part of TEC.” - If this is the case (and you are most likely right), then it will be time to walk away, but not before then.

Everybody has their own line in the sand. This one happens to be yours. But why must it also be the right one for Roseberry and CCP?

You haven’t so much struck a nerve as been the latest one to blame someone else for your problems, and proclaim that your personal line in the sand is the one everyone else should stand behind.

Tell me this - exactly how committed are you to that line? If +Stanton doesn’t remove Dallas from TEC in February, what then? Time for your parish to leave the diocese? If it won’t, will it then be time for you to leave your parish?

[28] Posted by Greg Griffith on 12-19-2006 at 11:35 PM • top

Bcann,
Your horse is awfully high…and when the horse dies, I hope you will dismount.

[29] Posted by Texas Hold'em on 12-19-2006 at 11:44 PM • top

I think Fr. Roseberry and Christ Church made the right decision. I was just looking through the latest issue of Esprit ( the Diocese of Dallas newsletter), and the timbre of most of the columns was “we must hold together” like they were trying to convince themselves or something. I know St Matthias is in the process of leaving- don’t know if it slipped through before the Standing Committee put things off til April. People have had a belly full of being even remotely associated with an apostate sect like TEC. I wish Christ Church and Faith of Allen all the best, though I would not wish to worship at either of those.

[30] Posted by via orthodoxy on 12-19-2006 at 11:52 PM • top

Faith Allen hasn’t left yet have they?  Has anyone else noticed the Diocesan website is down?  I am hoping it is down b/c they are overhauling it - I think it stated it would carry full coverage of the October diocesan convention “shortly” for about 2 months

[31] Posted by Dallasman on 12-20-2006 at 12:07 AM • top

I don’t know if Faith’s withdrawal is official yet Dallasman, but they have removed Episcopal from their signs, and sent a withdrawal letter dated October 23 to the diocese. It was a plant I believe of Christ Church Plano, so it makes sense they would leave also.

[32] Posted by via orthodoxy on 12-20-2006 at 12:19 AM • top

I don’t have a dog in this fight.  But I can find no fault with Father Roseberry’s and CCP decision.  In the end the thing to remember is that our allegiance should be to the Triune God and His Word both written and incarnated.  When anyone or anything would have us compromise or betray that allegiance we must wipe the dust from our feet and walk on.

Father Roseberry and CCP came to the conclusion they could not remain within TEC and still serve Christ.  They knew that if they followed the path set by Christ they would arrive safely at their destination. 

I don’t doubt that there was personal heartache in saying goodbye or that the decision was not reached lightly.  Jesus never did promise Easy.  But He did promise that He would know His own and that they would be with Him for eternity.    As Christians our hope, our faith and our love is in The Lord.  We have pledged to Him Lordship over our lives, heart, mind, soul and body.  To forego following Him because it will cause us or others pain is a poor answer to ” Take up your cross and follow me”.

[33] Posted by Paula Loughlin on 12-20-2006 at 12:31 AM • top

What stuck me so wonderfully about this beautiful testimony is how both +Staunton and Roseberry+ are following Christ.  Yet, they have both come to the realization that for now they are to walk different paths.  They had enough love and grace of our Lord to allow each other to follow their path with blessings of peace and prosperity for the other.  May I be able to show as much love and grace when I am faced with such choices.

Thank you David!

[34] Posted by Spencer on 12-20-2006 at 07:19 AM • top

When Jesus came, he had a prophet role, speaking at the temple and empasizing that his mission was first to the Jew.  After a 3 year ministry, he lamented that he wished Jerusalem would come under his wing, but they did not.  After a final testimony to the high priest, the established Jewish structure made their decision and God went a different way. 

In a similar way in 2003, the established ECUSA set a course away from the gospel, many faithful prophets like Cannon Roseberry begged her to reconsider, repent, etc.  The established TEC gave her answer in 2006 and the shepherd seems to be calling his sheep out.  (I believe he has been calling his sheep out for years, some have been called to stay and help usher the rest out.) The sheep and their shepherd are going a different way. 

If we were congregationalists, we all would have left in 2003.  My congregational friends don’t understand why so many have stayed ministering prophesy and calling for repentance in the structure of a church who’s course seemed so certain. 

I for one have stayed in the TEC waiting for February.  I have waited for a lot of other watershed dates as well, but I am certain that this is the end of the line.  I am just a poor lay person who is trying to follow my shepherd. 

I applaud Cannon Roseberry for blazing the trail.  His words are a balm for many who will be following his path in the next months.  He is right about one thing an orthodox church that does not follow God’s call to leave the structure will lose its core leadership.  Christian leaders will follow the shepherd and when the shepherd leaves the established structure; there will not be one stone left on another.

[35] Posted by BillK on 12-20-2006 at 11:42 AM • top

How may I reach Rev. Roseberry directly?  His is the first reference I’ve read in this quagmire of our church about our children.  “Anyone with children knows how terribly worrisome and treacherous it is to raise children in a culture with so much sexual brokenness.”

When the Robinson election was upheld I aked our church leadership:  how are we to continue teaching our children about God’s absolute truth when we cohabit with those who teach relativism.

Bravo to Fr. Roseberry.  Godspeed.

Lynne

[36] Posted by lynsun on 12-20-2006 at 06:23 PM • top

DCann,
In one post you blame CCP for moving out because it deprives the Diocese of the votes needed to do what is right (presumably leave TEC). In another, you say that what “bothers me the most is if the diocese of Dallas ultimately moves out of TEC and into the AC in the USA, CCP will come begging back, showing their allegiance to our Bishop. We who are left will have done all the fighting… ” Then in another post you imply that if Stanton++ doesnt lead the Diocese away from TEC in Feb. you are leaving. Yet I believe that at Stanton’s urging the Diocese has voted to withdraw its APO request and over the long term not leave TEC without a 2/3 vote.

As your comments suggest, the situation is in many ways like a vicious circle.  After prayer, CCP’s leadership decided that for the sake of its congregation and mission it was time to get off the merry-go-round. Some of us got off earlier, others are still waiting for God’s nudge.  But in the end, we will all be together. Peace.

[37] Posted by Going Home on 12-20-2006 at 06:34 PM • top

Puritan Souls, 12-19 post: Power and property,  perhaps,  but not pension. Any priest can walk away, even be kicked out, with pension intact.  That simply is not a factor.
As for Roseberry’s statement that THE defining moment for him was when KJS said, “mother Jesus,” I find that a little hard to believe.  Theologically, mother Jesus is part of our history. Whatever saint said it (can’t remember off the top of my head), nobody challenged that saint’s saying it until KJS quoted it.  Whether using the phrase in her first sermon was wise, that’s another matter. But theologically, you just can’t attack that quote without attacking the saint who originally said it.  My guess is it may have been “the last straw” but there were probably many many things that added up in the end.  “Mother Jesus” is just not that big a deal.

[38] Posted by RealityCheck on 12-20-2006 at 08:38 PM • top

RealityCheck -
It wasn’t just the “Mother Jesus”, it was the gawd-awful mental image of a pregnant Jesus giving birth on the cross.  The PBess sealed it right there.  But what the hey.  She only chose to go into the ministry because the government funding for her squid research was ending.

[39] Posted by CarolynP on 12-20-2006 at 10:18 PM • top

Reality Check,methinks that ‘Mother Jesus’ fits under the title ‘another Jesus’ and the ‘Gospel’ PB Schori espouses is ‘really not another’ only a tool to confuse and upset God’s people and distort the Gospel ala Jude 4.
Father Roseberry and Christ Church were more than right to turn and walk away from a Christ contrary to the one the Scripture proclaims,one that Scripture and the creeds would recognise as anathema.

[40] Posted by paddy on 12-20-2006 at 10:37 PM • top

God answered our prayers when we found Christ Church.  So much so that we decided to move our wedding there.  This is a world where God’s word is watered down to fill seats or not to offend anyone.  Christ Church has stood up and stood up on Biblical Principles.  We are honored to be members.
William Kuhn and The future Claire Kuhn

[41] Posted by Bkuhn333 on 01-15-2007 at 04:06 PM • top

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