"We are saying exactly the same thing St. Nicholas [Episcopal] said," the Rev. Mark Cannady of Holy Trinity [Episcopal] said Monday. "We cannot continue to go forward in this teaching."
The Northwest Texas Diocese last week rejected a request by St. Nicholas to help keep their 523 active members together after nearly 90 percent of voting parishioners disagreed with the Episcopal stance on same-sex unions and 2003 appointment of a homosexual bishop. The diocese ordered dissenters to vacate church premises by June 1.
Bob Bledsoe, a St. Nicholas member for 45 years, is among those leaving. "I have two emotions, one is sadness for leaving the 30 good friends who are going to stay," Bledsoe said. "But overpowering that is the joy that we will be in a new church, no longer bound by the mistakes of the old church."
Meanwhile, the new church, Christ Church Midland (Anglican Communion), has been chartered for those exiled from St. Nicholas. The new church expects to gather June 5 at Midland Classical Academy. "That has been our most immediate need, a place of worship," Bledsoe said. "Next, we need office space, and we're going to need all new office equipment, pencils, pens É we're starting from ground zero."
Christ Church Midland last week opened an account, and contributions for start-up costs already are coming in, Bledsoe said. Pastors of various denominations all across town have offered space to help accommodate the new church.
Stasney is a former president of the Midland Ministerial Alliance. "What all this support shows is the breaking down of barriers because we see ourselves as one church of Midland, and we don't see ourselves as competition," Stasney said of other churches rallying to help.