Friday, February 20, 2009

Grace and St .Stephen's Episcopal Church Bible Study and Trial

I don't often relate what is going on in my life with regard to religion and/or politics but sometimes I have the need to express something about either topic and this is one of those times.
Here is the link to the church I attend:

If you don't care to read about church or church related things, you need read no further.

Here's the link to the national Episcopal Church:

In April 2008 I started to attend Grace and St. Stephen's Episcopal Church here in Colorado Springs at the invitation of Father John Pahls, who has been a friend of mine for many years. We share a love of our Scottish heritage and Father Pahls, designed and wove the first iteration of our State Tartan. Every year we generally meet up at the State Capitol in Denver on the nearest Friday to the 6th of April, which is the National Day of Celebration of Scots and their contribution to the founding and building of America. It is celebrated with kilted ministers, bag pipers and HR and Senate members broken out in a Colorado State Tartan rash.

Due to some extremely troubling events at this church, we are meeting in small groups for 12 weeks. The meeting are held every other week. It was decided our church needed to have a small group Bible study and information session relating to matters of the church. If you care to read more about the events articles have been published in the Colorado Springs Daily Gazette. Here's the link to the paper: There have been a few articles, I am sorry I don't know the exact dates.

Last night, was Week 3 of our church's Small group meetings. These meeting are held in part to be bible studies on a series of topics whose topics started in the past and go forward to the present and then into the future. This study is called the African Bible study and was first used at a Lambeth Conference. The basis of the study is to to read a passage from 3 different translations of the Bible and then discuss what word or message you felt was revealed to you from the reading.

The groups are based on the Zip Code that you live in. About 10 families in my Zip Code are currently taking part. It is a very mixed group, clergy family, former and present Vestry members, choir members and me.

In part it is a Bible Study with the text being chosen by Father Marty Pearsall, with a specific purpose to guide us from the past into the future. The other important component besides building community and making sure the lines of communication are open is to impart information relating to the trial that started on 10 February 2009 to determine who actually has possession of the building that the congregation I belong to used to worship at.

In March 2007, the priest in charge broke away from the Main Episcopal Body and joined with a small, very conservative group based out of Africa called CANA. Here is the link if you want to further understand about CANA.

I do not pretend to to understand it all. Suffice to say, the congregation I belong to is worshiping in exile at First Christian Church in downtown Colorado Springs. We are very grateful to First Christian Church for their generosity and kindness to us in these troubled times. We will continue to meet there until a determination is made by the Judge as to ownership of the property in Tejon Street, in downtown.

In the case of the current trial, members of both of the congregations attend, in part to learn what is going to happen to the building and in part to show support for "their" side. Members of the exiled congregation also attend to support the Bishop of Colorado, who is helping to foot the legal bills. I will be attending for the first time, the afternoon session today with my neighbor, Sue.

The trial was separated into 2 parts. The legal term is Bifurcated. The first part will resolve ownership, the second part will determine damages. There is likely going to be a third part in that there will likely be criminal charges filed against certain parties involved with holding the building hostage.

The trial is already behind in calling witnesses. Not only are there state legal issues to resolve there is also Canonical Law issues to contend with. The decision was made not to have a jury trial for that reason as it was deemed to be too confusing for the average person to contend with.

During the 2nd session, part of the exercise was to create a Collect or prayer. Each group wrote one. These Collects were shared with the small group leadership and we were told that it was very well received: I was the scribe for this exercise and I gave it, it's title, so forgive me.

Here is what I called:

The 80918 Prayer:

God, Our Father
Whose Mercy Endures
Grant Us Patience, Progress and Peace
That We may Grow Stronger in Love and Service
To You and Our Fellow Man
Through Jesus Christ, Our Lord, Amen

In spite of the current legal situation and the fact that many bitter feelings were engendered by the split, there seems to be a spirit of hope and a feeling of light with in the congregation. That feeling can only be attributed to God working in the lives of all.

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