Bishop Andy Doyle, Episcopal Diocese of Texas, and Bishop Erik Gronberg, Northern Texas – Northern Louisiana Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, have both written letters to Bishop Scott Mayer expressing their dismay in the wake of the Supreme Court of the United States declining to take our cases, and to express their support for the Episcopalians in North Central Texas.
Letter from Bishop Doyle, Diocese of Texas
Bishop Doyle wrote to Bishop Mayer and to the Rev. Karen Calafat, president of the Standing Committee, of his great sadness at the outcome of the court case and offered support. Read Bishop Doye’s letter here or below.
My dear Episcopal friends,
It was with sadness that your fellow Episcopalians in the Diocese of Texas received the news that the Supreme Court would not hear your case.
“What shall I say to you?” I have questioned in my prayer time.
What comes to mind is Psalm 42:
My tears have been my food day and night, while people say to me all day long, “Where is your God” These things I remember as I pour out my soul: how I used to go to the house of God under the protection of the Mighty One with shouts of joy and praise among the festive throng. Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.
The psalms of lamentation are meant to be sung by people who are in deep sadness and pain so that they may remember who God is and how God cares.
Admiral James “Jim” Stockdale was a prisoner of war for more than 7 years during the Vietnam War. He said, “I never lost faith in the end of the story,” he said. “I never doubted not only that I would get out, but also that I would prevail in the end and turn the experience into the defining event of my life, which, in retrospect, I would not trade.” We recognize the brutal truth of our time and our moment, and have faith in the story that still lies ahead of us. As described by Stockdale, we may very well see a parallel with the work of the psalmists who wrote the lamentation psalms.
We cannot disregard the brutal honesty of your situation. Together we have to face it faithfully, truthfully, with eyes wide open; and we have to proclaim the faith that is in us.
You are amazing and miraculous people. Not because you do good ministry or great work serving the community. You are miraculous people who will continue your narrative because as I look at you, I see the hope, power, mercy, and love that comes from God through you into the world.
This is tough, and there is probably tough still ahead, that is the brutal truth. You will make it and envision your new future because God is not done with you. God is working God’s purposes out through you. When you feel alone you must realize that you have friends all around you that believe in God’s action and narrative that awaits the continuation of God’s story.
So, count on us to support you in the weeks, months, and years to come. As before, “put your hope in God,” and lean towards your future. God has a mission, and that mission continues to have a church in North Central Texas, and that church is The Episcopal Church.
C. Andrew Doyle, D.D.
IX Bishop of Texas
Letter from Bishop Gronberg, Northern Texas – Northern Louisiana Synod, ELCA
Bishop Gronberg wrote to Bishop Mayer of the steadfast faithfulness of his response and extended a generous offer of assistance. Read Bishop Gronberg’s letter here or below.
February 24, 2021
Dear Bishop Mayer:
It was with great sadness that I read about the decision of the United States Supreme Court to not take up your case and as such to allow the Texas Supreme Court decision stand. We in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Northern Texas-Northern Louisiana Synod have experienced the realities of church division. We understand the difficult decisions you have had to make in stewarding the assets of the church and the disappointment that this decision of the court brings.
Your statement to your diocese, along with Presiding Bishop Curry’s remarks, are steadfastly faithful and demonstrate your commitment to shepherd your people. Know that your ELCA neighbors and siblings in Christ stand with you in this time and will be keeping you in prayer.
We know that in this world we have no abiding city but seek the one that is to come. The church has never been about buildings or financial assets. You have done your duty in holding accountable those who would violate agreements made about the physical assets. For that I commend you. As you focus on the continued work of the church to proclaim the saving gospel of Jesus Christ know that I am grateful to do this work together. If our congregations can be of any service to your communities that could be displaced in this time, we stand ready to serve.
May the peace of God that passes human understanding keep you now and always.
Rev. Erik K.J. Gronberg, PhD, Bishop, Northern Texas-Northern Louisiana Synod, ELCA