07 April 2009

A wee report on Palm Sunday at Grace and St. Stephen's

Our friend James in Colorado Springs sends us this first hand account . . .
What a flurry of work starting late Friday with the inventory, then a 60 minute censing of every nook and cranny we could get to, and of course dinner with beer and wine. The beer and wine was extra nice after two years at First Christian where we kept the communion wine sort of hidden.

I walked in on Saturday and the place was crawling with people, they shower up with buckets, rags, cleaning stuff, and just asked for some water.

You should have seen the Altar Guild ladies polishing everything and then doing it again.

We found most of the Episcopal flags, Lord only knows why Don needed eight of them to begin with.

A couple of guys with hammers and screwdrivers pounding all the wood and making sure the kneelers were still attached (we haven't had a kneeler in two years -- such joy from such simple things).

There's a laundromat across the street, and we had a procession going back and forth with all the laity albs, hadn't been cleaned in two years.

Sunday was amazing. The sound system is old and cranky and we need some pros to deal with it. I hadn't seen so many folding chairs at the sides and back in years.

Communion took twenty-three minutes and I think we finished with seventeen blessed wafers.

There were kids in the children's choir who wandered into pews during the procession, just gazing around.

None of the acolytes had performed their assigned tasks there (just remember, everything is exactly the same except different).

I have to assume all of our congregation was there, plus a bunch of looky-loos. Plus there was a bunch of people who went to other churches during the exile simply because of our 12:45 time at FCC. I suspect that they'll return as soon as we get a more normal time (Palm Sunday and Easter are at 11:30, I think that will be changed the following week).

There were a handful of CANA people, some who were glad to see us and some we suspect were on a mission from Don. The most amazing thing were the dozens, and I mean dozens, of people we hadn't seen in four, eight, even twelve years, who say they were run off by Don back then. Some of them were run off last century. Hopefully they'll return regularly.

All told there were maybe 600 people there, the Fire Department would not have been happy.

Pity it was Palm Sunday with a silent recession and no coffee hour, that will be different this Sunday, even with everyone heading off to brunch somewhere.

Thanks for all the prayers and encouragement from all, they are certainly welcome and needed.
A note on the attendance - the new group reported that at their three services they had about 600 people attend "which is about normal for us" according to their spokesman. That certainly belies the premise that 90 percent of GSS voted to leave TEC and affiliate with the schismatic movement.

As for the thanks, they should be directed to Fr. Jake who refused to sit back, play dead, and watch the thieves do their work in darkness as the rest of the church was doing. When the history of this era is written, Terry Martin will be the preimenant figure in the story. He is probably the most important figure in TEC since the 1970s.

Thanks for the first-hand account, James.

from KKTV news in Colorado comes this interesting bit

This complicated, legal matter isn't over yet. The Episcopal Diocese in Denver is now suing 18 members of the breakaway parish with a court date in August.

There's also a separate ongoing criminal investigation by the Colorado Springs Police Department into the Anglican's leader.

I didn't know that members of the schismatic organization were being sued. KKTV has a video clip of the Palm Sunday events.

Episcopal Life provides us with this comment which nearly made me cry
While the organist was getting reacquainted with Grace and St. Stephen's organ on April 3, "there was a moment while he was playing hymns that those of us who were working, just moved into the sanctuary and choir stalls and the first few rows of pews and began to sing," Theobald recalled. "That was when it began to be real that we were back in the building."
For more reports see Episcopal Life, and the Colorado Gazette,