Skip to comments.Lexington KY: Profiles in Discouragement
Posted on 05/11/2006 6:00:18 PM PDT by sionnsar
Here is the clergy delegation to General Convention from the Diocese of Lexington.
The Rev. Robert L. Sessum. -
Chair The Rev. Alan Sutherland
The Very Rev. Morris Thompson. - new
The Rev. Dr. Janet Dunnavant - new
The Rev. Canon Johnnie Ross - alternate
Let us consider each and the "diversity" that they represent. Bob Sessum is a bit of an enigma because in his heart he knows that Bishop Sauls has been destructive to the Diocese of Lexington.
His own parish suffered considerably when it lost high rollers in the midst of a multi-million dollar building project. He went to Dromantine where he offered a lame explanation to the Primates about ECUSA's decision to consecrate a gay bishop.
My most recent contact with him was when I sat beside him at the funeral of one of his former parishioners who left Good Shepherd to help start St. Andrew's Anglican Church in Versailles (Diocese of Uganda).
The ushers, readers, and priest were all from St. Andrew's Anglican Church, which I'm sure had to bite. Bob certainly didn't seem very at ease that day. I'm betting that this will be Bob's last hurray. Bob just wants to retire with all his marbles and his money.
Alan Sutherland is the priest who got into trouble and was moved from his parish in Winchester to St John's in Versailles after Bishop Sauls disbanded St. John's vestry and took control of the church. Most of the members of St. John's then left to form St. Andrew's Anglican Church.
A member of St. John's reported to a friend of mine that on the first Sunday Alan was present to celebrate the Eucharist there was such a stench of death in the church that the people could hardly tolerate being there. Apparently some creature had crawled into the undercroft and died. (Reminds me of the cathedral belfry that was destroyed by lighting after the consecration of a certain apostate bishop in England.)
Morris Thompson is the Dean of the Lexington Cathedral. He is the Dean of a very classe cathedral, located just blocks from my former parish, St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, which was established by the rich Episcopalians of the cathedral as a mission for their black servants. Morris crossed the threshold of my former parish once that I know of.
It was when Bishop Sauls invited him to attend the 125th anniversary of my former parish since none of the clergy who had actually served there felt welcome to return for the festivities. (I had resigned on the Sunday Gene Robinson was consecrated and by then had managed to get myself inhibited.)
I discovered later that the parishioners had been told that their former priests were sent written invitations, but this just shows how unreliable the US postal service is.
The only clergy who attended the 125th anniversary were these delegates to General Convention. A strange coincidence! Jan Dunnavant is a lovely lady who was tragically widowed about 6 years ago. She holds a D.Min. from Sewanee. Jan's congregation put forth a female deacon who served at my former parish, St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, now 125 years old.
When I asked Bishop Sauls to consider moving her to another parish (which was my prerogative as rector), Sauls accused me of being a homophobe. He then discussed the matter with the deacon and my senior warden, and by the following Sunday I faced an angry crowd at the church, demanding that I explain why I was trying to get rid of their deacon.
I said that what they were asking about was confidential, contained in a letter to my bishop. In that confidential letter I had I begged Bishop Sauls to repent and turn back to the truth. Activist parishioners used this as ammunition against me.
A faithful black saint named Elva stood between me and the angry crowd, standing in the aisle to speak about what God wants and how we need to pray, but she was shamefully shouted down by an angry new comer to the parish. Blessed Elva. Since transparency is always the way to build and rebuild trust, I agreed to have copies of the letter available the following Sunday, which I did.
Johnnie Ross is Bishop Sauls' deployment officer. He was the one who called to warn me that the Bishop would take action against me if I spoke to another AAC gathering. On the phone we chatted briefly and agreed that a priest has to do what the Lord requires.
Obviously his idea and my idea of what the Lord requires diverge. Johnnie acts as a spiritual guide to one of the lay delegates from Lexington:
Austin Tuning. Austin is also a member of my former 125-year old parish and a confidant of Bishop Sauls. So you see this delegation to General Convention represents a certain kind of diversity with an all white clergy delegation and two black lay delegates.
And all are in favor of diversity" as long as they get to define it. And most certainly all will actively promote Bishop Sauls' as he runs for Presiding Bishop at the General Convention in Columbus in June.
-- Alice C. Linsley, former ECUSA priest, teaches philosophy and creative writing at a private secondary school and Spanish for Medical Practitioners at Midway College, both in KY. In her spare time she writes and gardens.
"Finally found it" ping
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