Sunday, November 29, 2015

For the Episcopal Diocese of Upper South Carolina, this Advent Brings Captivity

This the first Sunday of Advent, and for members of the Episcopal Diocese of Upper South Carolina their Bishop, Andrew Waldo, has declared that Advent 1 will announce the coming of blessings of same-sex marriage in several of the churches under his jurisdiction. At last count, only six or seven parishes had completed the required curriculum to perform these rites, and the question for the rest is not whether or not this represents the coming of a new religious freedom that is to be tolerated and accepted, but whether or not this represents a new religious restriction on traditional practices regarding marriage. 

It is not hard to imagine that the few remaining traditionalist rectors and their flocks in Upper South Carolina may be marginalized, excluded from positions of leadership, exiled, and held for ransom until they submit to the Bishop's new teaching on human sexuality. Rector search committees will be encouraged to seek a "Priest in Charge," a process which produces candidates that have been carefully vetted by the diocese prior to being included in any list given to parishes in need of a priest.

Given this new Advent, will any priest who believes in traditional marriage even be interested in coming to Upper South Carolina?

What is there to look forward to?

Never before have the words of "Ve­ni, ve­ni Eman­u­el" meant so much to pewsitters in the Episcopal Diocese of Upper South Carolina.

O come, O come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear. 
Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel. 
O come, Thou Wisdom from on high,
Who orderest all things mightily;
To us the path of knowledge show,
And teach us in her ways to go.
O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan’s tyranny;
From depths of hell Thy people save,
And give them victory over the grave.
O come, Thou Day-spring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here;
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
And death’s dark shadows put to flight.
O come, Thou Key of David, come,
And open wide our heavenly home;
Make safe the way that leads on high,
And close the path to misery.
O come, O come, great Lord of might,
Who to Thy tribes on Sinai’s height
In ancient times once gave the law
In cloud and majesty and awe.
O come, Thou Root of Jesse’s tree,
An ensign of Thy people be;
Before Thee rulers silent fall;
All peoples on Thy mercy call.
O come, Desire of nations, bind
In one the hearts of all mankind;
Bid Thou our sad divisions cease,
And be Thyself our King of Peace.

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