Letter from the Music Director of Grace Church to Members of the Taylor Choir
posted in the comments on titusonenine
March 29th, 2007 at 12:52 am
Subject : Letter from XXX
Members of the St. Stephen’s and Taylor Choirs, By now, many of you have learned of the sad events that have transpired at Grace Church. The articles and events of the past two days are too numerous and complicated to be summarized in this letter. I urge you to read the articles on the church website, Associated Press, Gazette, Denver Post, RM newspaper, etc. to fully understand what has transpired.
In short, the Vestry voted to go under alternative oversight under the Archbishop of Nigeria and to hire Don back as the rector without informing the congregation. They have changed all the locks to the church and the office and are claiming the property as their own. The Bishop has removed the Vestry and plans to stake claim on the property and assets in court.
Not knowing exactly what to do about this and having no warning from the former Vestry or other staff members, I called the Bishop of Colorado, Robert J. O’Neil, in order to find out what I should do. After talking with him and considering how to proceed, I have decided to stay with the Episcopal Church under his oversight for the time being. Under no circumstances will I work for this new Anglican church under the Archbishop of Nigeria. I was hired as an employee in the Episcopal
Church and will remain in its employment. Unfortunately, I have no access to my office and my organ and choral music in the McWilliams house on Tejon St. we were, however, able to secure music folders and choir robes from the choir house.
Naturally, this disastrous turn of events affects you all because you are ministers and/or employees to the congregation of Grace Church. First, let me say that I am so sorry this has happened to you. You don’t deserve it and you have been the highlight of my time in Colorado Springs. I have been able to cope with this untenable situation only because of the wonderful support from the choirs.
XXX XXX called me from the UK today and expressed the same sentiment. He cares for you as I do and worries about you every day. In speaking with the Bishop, I learned of his plan for the immediate future of those who wish to stay a part of the Episcopal Church. For this Sunday and until the issue of the property is resolved, Grace & St Stephen’s Episcopal Church will meet at an alternate location (he is trying to find a place with a decent organ) because he does not intend to turn Palm Sunday into a political boxing match between Don Armstrong and the Diocese. I will play and direct a choir of whoever (from St Stephen’s and Taylor) would like to sing. I imagine that quite a few of you will participate in this service and I look forward to worshipping with you in what I imagine will be a smaller, more fulfilling liturgical experience. It will take an incredible amount of thought, prayer and good fortune to rebuild this church. However, I believe that, in due course, we will be restored to a semblance of normalcy in our Gothic home downtown. The immediate future of Taylor choir is bleak simply because remuneration isn’t possible until there is a plan and the money to support it. The Music Committee (XXX XXX, XXX XXX, XXX XXX, XXX XXX, XXX XXX, XXX XXX and XXX XXX) has called the officer of the Taylor Trust and frozen the assets so the Nigerian church cannot receive its funds. We met today and will meet often to keep the program alive to serve the needs of Grace Church. This is the best we can do.
I am looking into possible rehearsal spaces for Thurs. night and Sunday morning and will keep you all informed as to the details of my plans for Holy Week and Easter music. We must remember, in spite of what has occurred in our church, that this is a precious time for Christians and that choral music written for Christian worship is perhaps the greatest artistic treasure in the world.
What we do is a gift given both to and from God and an expression of what we believe as Christians. Please call me on my cell XXX or at home XXX XXX if you have questions or just want to talk. I love you all and I will hold you in my prayers during this difficult time,