Today, Episcopalians of the Episcopal Church USA gathered from all over the diocese to begin anew, to literally rise from the ashes of their old diocesan convention held on December 8, 2007. And it was a beautiful scene to behold. Episcopalians from all across the nation tuned in via webcast on the Internet to be present at "Moving Forward: Welcoming All" with our brothers and sisters in Christ as they began a new dawn, a new life and future for the Episcopal Church in San Joaquin amidst the ruins of the old diocese. You can see it for yourself here.
President of the House of Deputies, Bonnie Anderson, was the keynote speaker, following Cindy Smith, the founder of Remain Episcopal. Before the business of the day was started, the day began at 10am with a Eucharist at Church of the Savior Episcopal Church in Hanford.
The service was packed, and began a little late when a bus load of 40 Episcopalians from Stockton showed up. And we think we have it bad at Trinity when we have to sit 5 to a pew! Watching them fit everyone in with a smile gave a whole new meaning to "love your neighbor"!
It was indeed a holy and healing service. I know of no other church where you can tune into a webcast of a service, and sing the hymns, say the liturgy and pray with a body of believers like you can in the Episcopal Church. Nothing compares. I was literally "there" in spirit and mind, sharing the peace, praying the prayers, reciting the Creed, responding to the service of the Eucharist, and receiving a blessing before the Body and Blood of Christ.
A letter was read from Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori by the Reverend Canon Bob Moore, interim pastoral presence appointed by Bishop Katharine, to those assembled. Following the reading of her missive, they also viewed a video message from Bishop Katharine, sending a very loving, strengthening and encouraging message as well. This message can be seen and heard at the end of the video webcast available here. The Episcopal News Service has a very good article on the meeting here. You can also view an image gallery here.
Remain Episcopal is still collecting monetary donations to get missions and programs up and running, as well as continuing to meet the needs of the remaining Episcopalians that are reconstituting their diocese. If you feel led to help, here is the address:
2067 W. Alluvial
Fresno, CA 93711
They have also begun asking for donations of liturgical supplies as well. They are in need of vestments, prayer books, hymnals, candles, brass, vessels, fair linen, altar books, Gospel books, liturgical furniture, and any other things needed for services that we take for granted each Sunday. You can email Amanda Gaona [firstname.lastname@example.org] with your offerings and she will let you know where to send them. If you wish to give a monetary gift online you can go here to do so.