Will Morris was smiling from ear to ear at St. Nicholas' Episcopal Church's service Sunday. Despite rumors and doubts the pews would be sparsely populated with the reported 31 remaining church members, the sanctuary was filled to capacity. Fellow Episcopalians from as far as Canadian and Shamrock, Texas, and community supporters joined St. Nicholas to celebrate their new beginning. "We're just overjoyed at the tremendous support we've received from other churches in the diocese," Morris said. Morris, a Midland College professor of history, and the only member of the former vestry who chose to stay, refuted sentiments that it was a lost cause to remain at St. Nicholas after nearly 90 percent of the congregation left to form Christ Church Midland. "It's not hopeless at all. We'll probably end up with more members, and reaching more people between the two churches than before Christ Church left," Morris said. "Every congregation reaches a different group of people." The mood Sunday was joyful as parishioners expressed their surprise at the turnout. Morris said he stopped counting after 250 people entered the sanctuary.
Monday, June 06, 2005
Last week St. Nicholas had visitors from around Texas expressing solidarity with the members who were leaving to form a new parish outside the Episcopal Church. This week the visitors were there to express solidarity with those who stayed. Is St. Nicholas being used as a political football? To some degree, yes.