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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Keeping the Promise

Back in January of last year I recounted the sad tale of the Church of the Good Shepherd in Binghamton, New York. A thriving parish, responsible for numerous good works in that depressed city, it had recently parted company with the Episcopal Church because of the never-ending apostasies and aligned with a diocese in the Anglican Church of Kenya. Good Shepherd had dearly wished to keep its property and had, in fact, offered to pay the Diocese of Central New York full market value for it despite the collapse in the real estate prices that had occurred earlier.

The diocese refused and instead sued the parish (a very popular activity in the Episcopal Church, sort of their evangelism for the 21st century) to force them to vacate. The court ruled in the diocese's favor, ordering the parishioners to surrender the property and everything in it. That they did, taking up quarters in an unused Catholic church nearby where, happily, they continue to thrive, mercifully unshackled from the Episcopal Church.

At the time the diocese promised new parishioners would be found to take the place of those who departed but with membership in the Episcopal Church plummeting, particularly in the the Diocese of Central New York, whose membership is down over thirty-percent since 1998, that seemed a particularly tall order. But surprise, surprise! The Diocese came through and once again a religious organization calls the former Church of the Good Shepherd home, an organization that's growing in leaps and bounds.

Yep, the former home of the Church of the Good Shepherd is now owned by Muslims who, according to Good Shepherd's rector, the Rev'd Matt Kennedy, paid the diocese a bargain one-third the price offered by Good Shepherd's parishioners a year-and-a half ago. Fr. Kennedy also reports while driving by the place the other day, he watched as the new infidel occupants yanked the cross off the steeple; the green door speaks for itself.

These days I don't dwell as much as I used to on the Episcopal Church but every now and then still find myself asking if that organization could possibly become a viler institution than it was when I left it. So far the answer has always been yes.

(Thanks to Chris Johnson at the MCJ.)

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