Joann Saylors, the diocesan canon for deployment and congregational development, in her report on the Status of Parishes and Missions, presented the resolution for St. John’s, New Braunfels, to gain parish status from mission status. All those in favor stood and clapped, as the full congregation from St. John’s marched in across the Council floor to the foot-stomping song, “Celebration.”
The congregation wore t-shirts imprinted with St. John’s new logo, which includes the word “blessed.” Ron Morrison, member of St John’s, acknowledged the large crowd that gathered from St. John’s to celebrate this momentous occasion.
St. John’s reverted to mission status from parish status in 2008 after the church endured a split within the congregation. Morrison gave thanks to “the work of Bishop Lillibridge and Drew Cauthorn,” and the 27 faithful members who remained, and “God, who resurrected St. John’s.” Morrison extended a tremendous gratitude of thanks to the Rt. Rev. James Folts, who came in to serve as priest-in-charge after the congregation was split apart.
Morrison said the blessings continued by the calling of the Rev. Ripp Hardaway as vicar in June 2009. “By God’s grace, we are thriving, and that is why we are here today,” said Morrison. “This journey has been emotional, heart-rendering, gratifying, a blessing.”
Morrison shared a poem he wrote about the “blessed journey.” “We know we can’t carry our burdens alone, so we come.” To the Council floor, Morrison introduced the many members of St. John’s Church, a group that has grown and is healthy. “As our t-shirts show, we are ‘blessed,’” said Morrison. “We are blessed by God, and we know it.”
Hardaway, now rector of St. John’s with the passing of this resolution, said, “I am blessed to be called as the new rector. I love being a part of the people who are open to the power of God – this incredible group of people keep saying ‘yes’ to God.”
Hardaway took joy in extending the invitation to all of Council to return to San Marcos next year, as St. John’s will host the 111th Diocesan Council, Feb. 26-28, 2015.