Monday, April 13, 2009

FALLBROOK: Bishop presides on Easter for returning Episcopal worshippers

Update from San Diego

When the Rt. Rev. James Mathes, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of San Diego, stepped to the lectern to deliver his Easter Sunday sermon, it was not a typical message, and his listeners were not a typical congregation.

The 200 congregants who packed into the tiny sanctuary and overflowed onto the patio Sunday at St. John's Episcopal Church in Fallbrook had not met in a formal service at the North Iowa Street building since summer 2006, when the church split over a variety of doctrinal and leadership issues.

So Mathes' message was simple: "Welcome home."

Three hours later, a similar service began across town, under the direction of the Rev. Don Kroeger.

The opening prayer was the same, many of the call-and-response readings were the same, but among the 125 people celebrating Easter inside a borrowed evangelical sanctuary, there was a sense of no turning back.

While the first group was celebrating its first Sunday back in the disputed Iowa Street building, the latter congregation was marking its second weekend after having to leave that building when a lawsuit over its split with St. John's ended quietly last month.

The rest is here-

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