Freedom in Fort Worth

The Wall Street Journal reports on life after the split in the Diocese of Fort Worth.

There is still talk of pain and loss. But not much of it.

Last November, the Episcopal diocese here in northeast Texas fractured over issues such as the ordination of women and gays, and the theology of salvation. A year later, both sides express one emotion above all: Relief.

… here in the Fort Worth diocese, the pope’s overture appears to have so far fallen flat. The reason? Life apart has left both sides surprisingly content.

They are still fighting a legal battle for control of church property and endowments. Yet the faithful from both factions have found the split reinvigorating; it has helped clarify their understanding of their central mission as Christians.

Those who have stayed with the national church have taken up their presiding bishop’s calls to focus on serving the poor and hungry, and to embrace a broad view of God as welcoming not just Christians but also Muslims, Jews and others into his kingdom.

Traditionalists, by contrast, still reach out to the poor but they are putting their emphasis on missionary work, preaching what they see as the defining truth of the gospel: That the only path to salvation is accepting Christ as Lord.


Congregations loyal to the national church have renewed their commitment to helping the poor and reinvigorated lay leadership…

“I’ve never had so much fun in church,” said David Lowder, a lifelong Episcopalian.

Mr. Chaffe (part of the breakaway group) said he is no longer distracted by church politics or upset by issues such as the blessing of gay unions. He need not put up with what he sees as a flawed message of “unequivocal love” for all; instead, he can focus on bringing those he believes to be sinners toward repentance. His church, he says, is again his — and that uplifts him.

Other stories in today’s Wall Street Journal are Church Schism Paves Way for Female Priests and Story of Two Congregations slideshow

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