“How very good and pleasant it is when kindred live together in unity!” declares the Psalmist in a passage in the lectionary recently. But how sad it is when they find they are unable to, the Psalmist might have added.
Just before summer, two congregations left the church buildings in which they had been worshipping for years. Months earlier, they had declared themselves out of the diocese.
It would be remiss not to mark the departure of the former congregations at St. Andrew’s, Pender Harbourand St. Simon’s, Deep Cove. As fellow Christians, if not as fellow members of the Anglican Church of Canada, we wish them well.
However, the parishes of St. Andrew’s and St. Simon’s remain. As has often been pointed out, people can leave the Anglican Church, but parishes – integral parts of a diocese - remain. Sunday services have been held weekly in both places all summer and continue in the fall. Diocesan leaders believe that there are people in both Pender Harbour and Deep Cove who wish to worship in a parish belonging to this diocese.
The bishop and synod made their majority decision over three years ago now – that a blessing of same sex unions was a proper way to provide pastoral care to gay and lesbian couples.
At the same time, the diocese determined it would respect differences. Many remain in the diocese who disagree with the majority decision. But the decision was made, and most people aren’t interested in debating it forever. The two congregations made theirs. We all will move on to other ministries.
But it’s still sad.