Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Christ Church Plano’s First Sunday Outside the Episcopal Church

As I hinted I would do, I attended the 9:15am service at Christ Church Plano on their first Sunday outside the Episcopal Church. But the only thing I noticed that was different from past Christ Church services was the sermon and the conclusion. Even 1979 ECUSA BCPs remained in the pew racks.

The sermon was noteworthy, however. Rector David Roseberry began, “Well, how was your week?”

The theme, taken from the Gospel reading of Mark 8:27ff., was “If you want to follow, then follow,” not attempt to lead or manipulate Christ as Peter did.

Fr. David told that in his first couple years as a Christian, he had a “God is my co-pilot” viewpoint. He later saw Jesus is to be followed, not made an assistant to one’s personal plans.

(If I have my chronology straight, Fr. David and I became Christians not many years apart. And I remember a popular book out called God is My Co-pilot. And even back as a newbie Christian, something struck me as not quite right about that.)

He also told of how he was thinking about retiring early in 2002 when God told him, “I’m not through with you yet.”

He explained what happened with Christ Church the preceding week. In the process he praised the leadership of Bishop Stanton of Dallas.

He tackled head on two possible objections to Christ Church leaving the Episcopal Church as they have:

1. The cash payment of $1.2 million

He stated Christ Church does not have that kind of money, that a short-term loan was taken out to be paid for by donations. And, though he was hesitant as first, it was an agreement good for both sides, securing the property for Christ Church and providing the Diocese of Dallas with “a soft landing.”

2. “Where’s your loyalty” to the Episcopal Church?

My memory about his answer is fuzzy, and Windows Media Player not working well as usual (I hope Christ Church leaves the Microsoft hegemony as well.) But he almost bristled as he said he had worked long and hard for the Episcopal Church and its reform. But that TEC was going down a road we can not follow.

It’s time for what he called “Chapter Two” in Christ’s Church life. And it’s time to follow Jesus.

If I heard correctly, he intends a sermon series on the future direction of Christ Church. Audio downloads and podcasts of Christ Church sermons may be found here. And this sermon is up.

At the end of the service, people joining Christ Church were invited up to be welcomed into the church. I counted 20 people who came up front! I didn’t think to ask if additional people were going to come up during the more heavily attended 11am service.

The Episcopal Church keeps losing people. And Christ Church keeps winning them.

The congregation was directed to receive packets in the Fellowship Hall on “Chapter Two” in the life of Christ Church. I would have very much liked to get a packet which included a DVD. But I think they were only for members, and I didn’t see anyone who seemed to be in charge to ask if I could have one.

Long time readers of this blog know Christ Church played a significant role in my pilgrimage to Anglicanism. May God bless them and continue to use them to bless many.

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