The Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth reorganized on Feb. 7. As we near the first 100 days since then, it is a good time to review events.
The diocese is healthy and growing. Since Bp. Gulick has been in office, fifty new Episcopalians have joined us, either through confirmation, reception or baptism.
Fifteen of the new Episcopalians have come to the church in the displaced parishes—St. Stephen’s Hurst, Parker County Episcopalians, and St. Alban’s, Arlington. The rest came into the church at All Saints, Trinity, and St. Luke’s in the Meadow, all Fort Worth parishes.
On Sunday May 17, Bp. Gulick will receive one adult from the Roman communion and baptize a baby at All Saints/Good Shepherd in Wichita Falls.
Bp. Gulick also blessed St Luke’s Community Garden, a project which will provide fresh, organic fruit and vegetables to families and individuals in the parish and the neighborhood. St. Luke’s in the Meadow also participates in the Food Share America food co-op program, which negotiates discounts of up to 40% off the retail cost of food.
Victoria Prescott headed up a committee that organized the lecture and book signing by acclaimed author Diana Butler Bass, cohosted by Brite Divinity School. Her committee also produced the supremely successful diocesan Lenten series, Manifesting the Baptismal Covenant.
Speakers in that series were the Rev. Mary Earle, author and professor at the Episcopal Theological Seminary of the Southwest; our own Sam McClain of St. Luke’s, Stephenville; the Rev. Terry Martin, Program Officer for Evangelism for the Episcopal Church; Dr. Toni Craven, I. Wiley and Elizabeth M. Briscoe Professor of Hebrew Bible, and the Rev. Dr. Eilene Thelig, Director of Lay and Continuing Education, Brite Divinity School; the Rt. Rev. Jane Dixon, retired Suffragan Bishop of Washington; and Bonnie Anderson, D.D., President of the House of Deputies of the Episcopal Church. All spoke of the many and varied ways lay people might live into their baptismal promises to God and carry out their ministry in the world.
St. Christopher’s, Fort Worth, was a gracious and generous host for the series; Margaret Mieuli, Marti Fagley, Richard Henderson, Jeanneane Keene and many other happy Episcopalians helped set up, serve a soup and salad dinner, and then clean up.
Elinor Normand has set up and maintained the outstanding diocesan website. Susan Reeves helped coordinate clergy to meet the worship and pastoral needs of the displaced parishes, with all parishes now receiving consistent clergy care. The Rev. Maureen Lewis is the first woman priest to be licensed to serve in the diocese, and the Rev. Babs Marie Meairs recently returned to Fort Worth on a visit and celebrated with the Parker County Episcopalians.
Susan Reeves also has organized a clergy spouse gathering.
Brite Divinity School at Texas Christian University announced the creation of an Episcopal Studies Program to begin this fall, an exciting development for all Episcopalians—lay people who want to enrich their theological education as well as those who might seek ordination.
The Diocesan Altar Guild and Episcopal Church Women have met and are reorganized and going about their ministries energetically. Deputies to General Convention have met and recently attended the Province VII General Convention orientation in Dallas, where the assembly welcomed them warmly. Kathleen Wells, the diocesan chancellor and a deputy, missed the orientation because she was speaking to a gathering of chancellors from around the church, eager to hear of developments here.
Integrity and Brite Divinity School hosted a field test at Trinity, Fort Worth, of the Study Guide for the documentary Voices of Witness Africa, which tells the story of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered Anglicans in Africa. This writer and the Rev. Cynthia Black produced the documentary and study guide as part of the Listening Process for the Anglican Communion. The film and Study Guide will be mailed to every bishop in the Anglican Communion and to all deputies to General Convention.
The diocese and the national church filed suit to recover certain property and assets of the Episcopal Church.
But the most important work is being done by people in the parishes, where the daily life of worship, outreach and ministry continues uninterrupted as Episcopalians strive to live into their baptismal promises and to reconcile the world to God through Jesus Christ. The Diocese of Fort Worth is alive with happy Episcopalians—and finding more every day through the work of God the Holy Spirit.
by Katie Sherrod, Director of Communications