This is the story of what happens when someone in Fort Worth dares to offer a counterargument to the bishop and the standing committee's efforts to leave The Episcopal Church.
First, let me introduce Marvin and Gloria Long . Marvin and Gloria are long time members of Christ the King Episcopal Church in Fort Worth. They have been deeply involved in the parish for years, giving of their time, talent, and treasure in countless ways.
Christ the King has long had a special place in my heart because my husband, Gayland Pool, was rector there back in 1976. (This was many years before we were married.)
That was when they located an abandoned Methodist chapel being used to store hay. They bought the Texas Gothic building, moved it into Fort Worth and restored it in time for the July 4 Bicentennial celebration. The little white church on the west side of town soon won the heart of the city with its simple elegant beauty.
These days, the rectors and interims at the parish are firmly in the bishop's pocket, even if many in the congregation are not. The reference to "saddle your own horse" was from a speech given by Bonnie Anderson, president of the House of Deputies, in Fort Worth in September.
I'll let Marvin tell his own story:
By way of introduction, my name is Marvin Long, a parishioner of Christ The King Episcopal Church in Fort Worth Texas since 1992. I am 67 and was confirmed an Episcopalian in 1963. I have served on the vestry and as Senior Warden and as Lay Minister. Until last week I edited Celebration, the church news letter. I would like to recount what happens in the diocese of Fort Worth when one `saddles up his own horse and stands up for ECUSA.'
On October 2, 2007, the diocesan office released the amendments to the diocesan constitution and canons that would "begin the process of affiliating with another Province of the World Wide Anglican Communion." Subsequently, my wife and I wrote the vestry of Christ the King parish and requested that they pass a resolution stating their intention to remain with ECUSA and withdrawing the congregation from the Anglican Communion Network.
On Sunday morning Oct. 21 at both services our interim priest preached a sermon maliciously attacking ECUSA. The senior warden attended the vestry meeting that day and handed out the old attack on ECUSA by Bishop Harold Miller of the Church of Ireland with a cover letter from Bp. Jack Iker.
I decided to include four polite articles in the November issue of Celebration that support ECUSA. For my efforts, I was removed by the interim priest as editor of the newsletter and from all other church functions. My lay minister's license was revoked (an act reserved for the bishop) and I was forced to shut down the church's web site. The small weekly healing service I and a few other liberals regularly attended was cancelled until further notice.
On Sunday, Nov. 4, I was publicly excoriated for the Celebration in both church services by the priest and the Sr. Warden. So there you have it: what happens when you saddle up your horse in Ft. Worth.
The bright side is that there is support for ECUSA here. Although I am saddened by the current state of affairs, I hopefully look for the national church to reassert itself. Come soon. I'm still on my horse.
Marvin posted this on the Fort Worth Via Media listserve, and received many replies sympathizing with him and offering encouragement. His reply is below:
I want to thank you all for your expressions of love and support. You keep me with my head up and a smile on my face. That goes for Gloria, too.
As far as giving up is concerned, I will share one of my favorite stories.
After an aircraft is repaired, it must be test flown and certified OK by a pilot. An old Cessna Citation (Number 123WB) had some repair work done at Alliance airport and was taken for a spin by a test pilot. As he approached for a landing, he saw the three green lights that say the landing gear is down and locked, but when he touched down the gear collapsed and he went screeching down the runway at 125 mph trailing a plume of sparks and smoke.
The tower operator saw him go by and shouted into the radio, “Citation Whiskey Bravo! Do you need assistance!?”
The pilot radioed back calmly while keeping the wreck lined up on the centerline, “I don’t know yet, I ain’t done crashin’.”
Well, I ain’t done crashin’. I’ll stay ‘til the end and I plan to come out on top. Good things are going to happen at CTK because of this.
No, we ain't done crashin' yet here in Fort Worth. We know it's going to be an ugly wreck. But we're hanging on and we plan to walk away from in in one piece -- spiritually battered, physically and emotionally exhausted, but steadfast in our resolve. We are Episcopalians, whether Bp. Iker and his minons like it or not.
UPDATE: If you want to see the Celebration newsletter that caused all this, go to