Saturday, June 2, 2012

When the Gay Agenda fails in Kentucky, try it in Maine

Alice C. Linsley

In January 2012, the Episcopal Diocese of Lexington sold the property of St. Martha Episcopal Church to the Bluegrass Area Development District. The congregation now worships at Word of Hope Lutheran Church at the corner of Armstrong Mill Road and Man O’ War Blvd.

From the beginning, St. Martha’s was not a financially viable parish. It was a proxy congregation set up by former diocesan bishop Stacy Sauls after the vital congregation of Apostles was forced to abandon the facility that congregation had built, surrending it to the Diocese. Apostles Episcopal Church had refused to join Bishop Sauls’ gay agenda. The Rev. Martin Gornick led his congregation out of the Episcopal Church. Now Apostles Anglican Church owns the property where it worships in a pricey district of Lexington, across from the Roman Catholic cathedral of Christ the King.

Members of St. Martha's

The Priest-in-charge of St. Martha’s was Tim Fleck, a gay priest, who faced 3 years of futile struggle to built that congregation on the basis of liberal theology, inclusive language and endorsement of the gay and lesbian lifestyle. He recently found work in Maine serving 2 struggling Episcopal congregations. Fleck will divide his time between the parishes of St. Savior in Bar Harbor and St. Andrew and St. John in Southwest Harbor.

Episcopal priest Timothy Fleck

Theodore Fletcher, the Senior Warden of the Southwest Harbor congregation thinks that this will be a good solution to the shrinking resources and membership of both congregations. He hopes that Fr. Fleck’s progressive attitudes will stimulate growth.

“I think that most people find organized religion stuffy, boring and not meeting their needs,” Flecther said in an interview with the Mount Desert Islander. “And we’re trying to address that perception... we want to be attentive to who might be left out. We have limited imaginations and it's a challenge to try to be attentive to who's not included."

Tim Fleck and his partner Bob Schmeler have relocated to Maine where Fleck will be Priest-in-charge for the next 3 years.

1 comment:

Alice Linsley said...

The Interim Assisting Bishop in the Diocese of Lexington is Chilton Knudsen, the 8th Bishop of Maine (Retired).