Recently Owanah Anderson of The Episcopal Church of Wichita Falls was moved by an article on Episcopal Cafe to pay tribute in the Joyful newsletter to the supply clergy who have faithfully served Wichita Falls’ Episcopalians. She has given permission for us to share it with the diocese. And note this — this year all three current supply priests are celebrating 50 years of ordination. Congratulations to them all — and thanks.—————————–[On November 27, 2016,\ Episcopal Café posted a splendid article on “How Supply Priests Helped Save The Episcopal Church in South Carolina.”
The Episcopal Church of Wichita Falls has indeed been kept alive through dedication of retired clergy during the past eight long years.
After the grievous schism of 2008, which left loyal Episcopalians of All Saints homeless, the retired clergy, whom we fondly called circuit riders, came forward to celebrate and preach. In the first year, Advent 1 2008 to Advent 1 2009, eight retired priests, three bishops, and a canon from Alaska came to us. The next two years found us basically served by two retired priests – Mother Maurine Lewis and Father Bruce Coggin. Mother Mo is mostly totally retired now but Fr. Coggin has continued off-and-on visits which this week will be visit number 83 to Wichita Falls. Add up the mileage to-from Fort Worth and you’ll find he’s traveled 18,675 miles to preach, challenge, enlighten and celebrate.
Currently three venerable veterans are regularly taking services: all three celebrating their 50th Anniversary as a priest of the Episcopal Church in this year of 2016.
* Fr. John Payne ordained to the priesthood on May 1, 1966;
* Fr. Vernon Raschke was received as a priest from the Roman Catholic Church on October 7, 1966 (he became a Roman Catholic priest in 1962); and
* Fr. Bruce Coggin will this month celebrate his 50th Anniversary as a priest on December 21, 2016. (Editor’s note:There will be a party honoring Coggin on December 26 at Trinity. Fort Worth. See the invitation: Coggin-invitation-2)
Each is now also contributing words of wisdom for JOYFUL each week.
The Episcopal Café article stresses we should not forget how the supply priests were there at the moment of crisis to bind spiritual wounds.
Indeed, we have not forgotten and we are grateful.
Watch Heroes, a video tribute to our supply clergy shown at Diocesan Convention 2011 below or on YouTube.
The retired clergy were recognized again at Diocesan Convention 2015. Watch The Arms of God below or on YouTube.
We join Owanah in gratitude for the ministries of our supply priests. We couldn’t have done it without them.